Geoff Cameron likely out for USMNT’s huge World Cup qualifier against Mexico

The United States probably won’t have Geoff Cameron when they take on Mexico in their crucial World Cup qualifier on November 11. The defender has an injured knee and his club manager, Stoke’s Mark Hughes, said that his recovery is going slower than expected.

"Geoff’s knee has improved but when you open up the knee joint they seem to improve rapidly — but the last five or 10 percent is much slower," Hughes said.

"It’s unlikely he’ll be involved tomorrow — or in international level next week."

Cameron missed Stoke’s last match and while he was supposed to return this weekend, putting him in line to play against Mexico, that now looks like it’s off the table.

Losing Cameron is a gigantic hit to the U.S. He, along with John Brooks, are the Americans’ best central defenders and have the making of an excellent center of defense.  While Jurgen Klinsmann’s team used to have a defensive problem, that’s rarely been the case of late. That’s due in large part to Cameron, who started in every match at Copa America Centenario.

With Cameron out, Klinsmann will have to find a new partner for Brooks. Because Brooks is left-footed, Klinsmann will probably opt for a right-footed option, meaning Omar Gonzalez, Steve Birnbaum or Michael Orozco. He could also choose Matt Besler, but that would mean starting two left-footed centerbacks, which he generally tries to avoid.

The Americans will announce their roster on Sunday. It probably won’t have Cameron on it, but it might provide some inside as to who will replace him.

In addition to the qualifier against Mexico, which is the Americans’ first of the final round of World Cup qualifying, Cameron will also miss the November 15 qualifier at Costa Rica. The U.S. have never won at Costa Rica so if they can’t beat Mexico at home, they face the likelihood of having no wins from their first two matches of the round, putting them in a deep hole as they seek to qualify for their eighth straight World Cup.