Futbol Failure

Geoff Cameron: Tactical arrogance caused USMNT to fall short of World Cup

Geoff Cameron, #20, shared an in-depth conversation with Glenn Davis about the deficiencies of the USMNT. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Yesterday, Stoke City's Geoff Cameron joined Glenn Davis on Soccer Matters and shared his thoughts on his career in the EPL and the shortcomings of the USMNT. Make sure you click on the link above to listen to the first part of the captivating interview.

Cameron joined Stoke City in 2012, and has virtually played every position in the back four for his team. He began the interview giving us a proper look at what it has been like to play in the most competitive league in the world, The Premier League. He explained why Stoke had such a tough start, how injuries crippled the team, and what eventually led to the sacking of Mark Hughes.

On January 15th, Paul Lambert was appointed as the new manager of Stoke City, replacing Mark Hughes. Cameron immediately noted a difference with the appointment of Lambert. Whether it’s calling out his players or having two-a-day practices, Lambert is no-nonsense. Despite being manager for less than a month, Cameron has already noticed how stylistically different Stoke has played since his appointment, and his emphasis on high pressing.

Glenn and Cameron then got deeper into their conversation as the topic changed to Cameron’s experiences with the United States National Team. He addressed the “buddy- buddy” relationship many claim he had with former manager Jurgen Klinsmann. He also discussed how different he was as manager than his successor and the bad taste his relationship with Bruce Arena left in his mouth.

Cameron, then, dove into one of the most controversial moments in US Soccer History, losing to Trinidad 2-1 and failing to qualify for the World Cup. He shared his perspective on why he did not play, the overconfidence of the squad, and the “tactical arrogance” of Bruce Arena.

Cameron’s openness made for a very compelling interview. It's no secret that Glenn and Cameron have a history dating all the way back to Cameron’s time with the Houston Dynamo. This open conversation on yesterday’s edition of Soccer Matters was only half of the conversation Glenn had with the Stoke City center back.

In the second half, Cameron goes into deeper detail on the failure of the national team to qualify for the World Cup. That half of the interview will air next Wednesday, February 14, on Soccer Matters from 7-9 pm.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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