Former third-round draft pick Geoff Cameron has enjoyed a good season as part of the Dynamo’s midfield attack. On Sunday against Mexico's Monterrey, however, he showed he can wow just as much – if not more – as a center back.
With Andre Hainault and Jermaine Taylor away on international duty and Eddie Robinson slowed by an injury, the 6-foot-3 Cameron stepped into the center of a depleted Dynamo defense and helped Houston run out a 3-0 winner.
The skill and athleticism that he showed renews discussion of his potential in central defense, a position at which he made 22 starts for the Dynamo in 2009 en route to MLS Best XI honors. But the fact that he can fill in capably in spot duty gives the squad something perhaps more important: flexibility.
“It’s important to have guys who aren’t tied to one position,” Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “Against Monterrey, the main reason he was back there was because Andre was gone and Jermaine was gone. It’s good, because we know he can play well back there. Geoff can play both center mid positions and can also play in the back, so it’s useful. It’s good, because it makes your team more flexible that way.”
Cameron's ability to play well on the ball out of the back was evidenced by his slalom through the Monterrey forward line early in Sunday’s match. It is moves like those that have media and fans ready to earmark him for defense. But it is that same skill set that has made Cameron a weapon as a central midfielder.
His production as a midfielder has not gotten the same attention as his play at center back. However, his nine goals and 10 assists in 57 career games in the midfield stacks up very well against the production of his midfield predecessor, Stuart Holden, in the 2008-09 seasons over a comparable number of games.
Cameron’s versatility and production are weapons that Houston could look to exploit down the stretch. With players such as Adam Moffat and Luiz Camargo stepping up in midfield, there could be times when Kinnear wants all three on the field at the same time, potentially forcing Cameron to defense.
The debate continues, but to the player, it’s ultimately unimportant.
“I like playing center back and center mid, and I feel pretty comfortable at both,” Cameron said. “I’m going with the flow. This weekend, I’ll likely go back to midfield, and then we’ll just go from there.”