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MLS Notes: Cameron staying at center back, Portland to sign Valencia and more

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photo by Howard C. Smith/


Geoff Cameron's switch to center back was one of the key ingredients in the Houston Dynamo's run to the MLS Cup, and that's why head coach Dominic Kinnear has made the move permanent.

Cameron will serve as a center back in 2012 after he and Kinnear had a discussion following the end of the season. The versatile 6-foot-4 player has played forward, midfield and defense during his four seasons with the Dynamo, but Kinnear believes center back is Cameron's best position.

The move to make Cameron a staple in Houston's back line is unlikely to surprise many after he demonstrated late in the year that he is a capable defender with ball skills that few in the league possess.

Here are more MLS notes:


It didn't take long to find out the identity of the Portland Timbers' soon-to-be Designated Player.

According to reports, Portland is set to sign 19-year-old forward Jose Adolfo Valencia from Colombian club Santa Fe. Valencia, the son of former Colombian international and ex-New York/New Jersey Metrostars player Adolfo 'El Tren' Valencia, is one of Colombia's most promising young players. The younger Valencia scored once while playing in five games this season.


Daniel Hernandez will play at least one more season with FC Dallas after agreeing to a new three-year deal that will keep the veteran midfielder with the team as a player-coach. The new deal requires Hernandez to play for the Hoops in 2012, but also allows him to serve as a coach at some capacity under head coach Schellas Hyndman as soon as 2013.


Sean Johnson will soon be the latest MLS player to train abroad. The Chicago Fire goalkeeper is set for a week-long training stint at Everton starting on Dec. 4. At the club, Johnson will train with U.S. men's national team goalkeeper Tim Howard and U.S./Everton goalkeepers coach Chris Woods. Johnson will also train with Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath, who is currently on a training stint of his own with the Premiership club.

Due to scheduling conflicts, Johnson will not train with Manchester United this offseason as had been previously reported.


Matt Reis' tenure with the New England Revolution won't be coming to a close in the foreseeable future, as the veteran goalkeeper re-signed with the club. Reis, who has played nine seasons with the Revolution, is coming off a year that saw him start 27 games. Per league and club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.


What do you think of Cameron making a permanent switch to centerback? Think Portland's looming capture of Valencia is a good one? Do you see Hernandez playing beyond 2012?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. If I’ve learned anything from comments under MLS stories online, it’s that everything in the MLS happens because of Seattle.

  2. Not saying its an awful move, but Columbia doesn’t have the best league. All I’m thinking is the teams don’t have enough money to invest in projects. I wish they did. Unfortunately probably half of the regular starters don’t make 150k. If they would increase the salary cap a lot of teams would invest in young players who they believe could help them or they could turn and sell to europe in a couple of years.

  3. Ballack is virtually certain to play here before he hangs it up. Anelka is a possibility, with his brother here. Del Piero seems to be seriously interested.

    The others are letting those rumors float as bargaining chips.

  4. Cameron would be stellar at CB. Let’s remember that he had his call up a couple of years ago but left camp with an injury. And again in 2010 for a friendly. And that was as at midfield. If he hadn’t tweaked his knee in the first half of the final, that goal might not have been. We’ll never know. maybe the game goes to PKs and the pressure kills LA. If Ream got a call at CB, this guy is overdue.

  5. Jimmy Conrad, who spent his entire career in the US ( except for a bunch of loan games in Poland) got his first cap for the US when he was 28. A year later he made the 2006 World Cup squad.

    I always liked him and felt he was under rated. I don’t know whether Cameron is as smart and savvy a player as Conrad was though. It is pretty unusual to be making your international debut (for any country) at 28 and then go on to win 27 caps so maybe Conrad is the exception that proves the rule.

    I guess we’ll soon see.

  6. It’s about the cap (isn’t everything in MLS?). Basically as it stands, a DP costs his team $335,000 against the cap. With the new rule, a DP who is 21 to 23 will only cost $200,000 against the cap and a DP who is 20 or younger will only cost $150,000.

    The young DP rule encourages teams to spend more on young talent by alleviating the cap hit.

  7. That may not be the best comparison.

    By the time Boca was 26 he had been at Fulham for about two years and was basically a regular.

    You could argue that Cameron will have less wear and tear on him so he should last as long, if not longer than Boca.

    On the other hand, Boca was never a speedster and that speed and quickness seems to be a much bigger part of Cameron’s game than it ever was for Boca. And, of course, that will leave Cameron as he gets older.

    And Cameron will have to go a ways to build up the kind of experience and savvy that Boca already had at 26 and which Cameron still lacks.

    It would be really good for Cameron if he could convince JK that he is the guy for the USMNT.

  8. +1

    MLS needs to bring in more young prospects from South and Central America, the young DP rule change is a great idea. Once these players start paying for themselves when they are sold on to bigger clubs in a few years, I hope the young DP slots are expanded even further.

  9. If Cameron wants to play for the US national team he better stay at CB. He still needs to improve quite a bit there, though, right now he’s making lots of mistakes (positioning, etc.) that may go unpunished at MLS level but will lose us games at the international level.

  10. ignorant. These are the exact types of moves MLS teams should be making. He’s a young player with MASSIVE upside, and is considered a top prospect in SA. Don’t forget, they get him as a player, and they’ll probably make a lot of their $$ back when/if they sell him to Europe.

  11. i like to see the use of young DPs. I hope it works out for Portland and the kid is a stud.

    Ballack now talking about MLS. We could see the following next year:

    1. Ballack
    2. Anelka
    3. Drogba
    4. Del Piero
    5. Lampard
    6. Rio
    7. Materazzi
    8. Ronaldinho

    Personally, I doubt Lampard, Rio or Ronaldinho come next year. But either way, it’s a pretty impressive haul for MLS…even if they are older. But, we’ll see what actually happens…

  12. Why would he _need_ to latch onto a european team? Beckerman, shea ream, agudelo, bunbury and hamid were called up repeatedly with no european connection.

    JK doesn’t care what league you play in so long as you’re playing.

  13. I wouldn’t doubt that the Freddy Montero situation didn’t have a lot to do with Portland’s success signing the younger-ish Colombians . . . move to MLS, play well, get paid well . . . Not all South Americans dream of winning the UEFA Champions League. Many dream of just playing football for money no matter where it is. Pretty much like the rest of us.

    Love what John Spencer is doing in Portland.

  14. The Portland signing is good news and hopefully a sign of things to come. They’ve had great luck with mid-aged Colombians, so hopefully this pans out well. In any case, at least they’re taking a chance on a U-20 DP.

  15. So at the moment the only CB’s we have on the NT are Bocanegra, Gooch and Goodson. 4 of our best hopes are Gonzalez, Ream, John and Cameron.

    Cameron needs to find a European team to latch onto or he’ll never get NT call-ups. Maybe a Scandinavian club or Dutch team will go for him.

  16. very encouraging! MLS can already attract aging stars, the next step is attracting younger up-and-coming players while at the same time growing our own. slowly MLS will get better and better

  17. Who picks up the tab for these training stints? Does the players’ club have to pay or does the training club foot the bill for this?

  18. Kid is a huge prospect. Saw him at the U-20 World Cup and he is a beast. Size wise he is huge, strong, and fast. Much better than Agudelo and will be an imediate starter once he gets here.


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