Geoff Cameron returns from injury to give the USMNT big boost for World Cup qualifiers

Geoff Cameron had last played a match way back on Oct. 22, an absence that left him with nothing to do but watch Stoke City settle into mid-table. But he also could only watch as the United States were beaten by Mexico, thrashed by Costa Rica and Jurgen Klinsmann was fired.

Cameron won’t be watching when the U.S. return to World Cup qualifying, though. The centerback got back on the pitch for Stoke on Sunday, coming off the bench for his first action in four months. Now, he has three more matches with the Potters to find his fitness and form before the Americans square off against Honduras on March 24, then Panama four days later.

The return of Cameron is crucial for the U.S. He has been their best defender for most of the last two years and they sorely missed him against Mexico and Costa Rica as they conceded six times. The Americans couldn’t track runners, were routinely beaten in the air and struggled to play the ball out of the back. Cameron would help with all three.

The U.S. currently find themselves dead last in their World Cup qualifying group and are very much in a fight just to make the 2018 World Cup. They almost certainly have to beat Honduras at home, and getting a point at Panama would go a long ways toward easing some of the Americans’ worries.

Cameron still needs to play in some matches to get sharp again, but he has three matches to do it. That’s why his getting healthy now, and not just before World Cup qualifying, was so important. He’s done that and now the U.S. have to be feeling a lot better.