March 5, 2010
By Michael Lewis
THE BEAS IS BACK
Midfielder steps front and center into U.S.'s World Cup picture
AMSTERDAM -- In an obtuse way, DaMarcus Beasley can thank Dutch midfielder Nigel de Jong for helping him to get back into the running for a spot on the U.S. World Cup team.
|DaMarcus Beasley may have played himself into the running for a World Cup roster spot.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Had de Jong not fouled and injured Stuart Holden in the process, Beasley would not have gotten into the game, at least not that early, and impressed coach Bob Bradley with his play and more importantly with a free kick that set up Carlos Bocangegra's goal in the waning minutes of the Americans' 2-1 loss to the Netherlands at Amsterdam ArenA Wednesday night.
“Especially as DaMarcus got into the flow of the game more he was able to make some good runs forward," Bradley said. "You started to see his mobility and a little bit of his quickness. He had the confidence of being a threat and put defenders on their heels.
Those are good things and hopefully they can be built upon.”
The last time the 27-year-old Beasley wore the red, white and blue, he made an unforgiving error on the second goal of the U.S.'s 3-0 defeat to Brazil in the opening round of the FIFA Confederations Cup last June.
Beasley had the misfortune to let Landon Donovan corner kick roll off his foot and turn into a Brazilian goal. Brazil quickly countered as Kaka sprung Ramires, who fed Robinho, who converted a 2-on-1 break.
Beasley never saw the light of day again in the tournament or for the remaining four U.S. World Cup qualifiers, for that matter.
He went back to Rangers in the Scottish Premier League.
If he makes the team, Beasley will give Bradley an experienced, versatile player who can play at right midfield, which would allow Bradley to move Clint Dempsey atop next to Jozy Altidore up front. While Dempsey isn't as fast as the injured Charlie Davies, Beasley will added his speed to the midfield.
Beasley was just happy to be back with the team again after such a long layoff.
"It feels good," he said. "Obviously I've been out for a while. It was good being around the boys again. Just being around the team you feel like you belong again. So the football part of it takes care of itself. . . . Hopefully I can get a spot and create another problem for Bob in the selection."
A two-time World Cup veteran (2002 and 2006), Beasley was hopeful about his chances of securing a seat on the U.S. plane to South Africa.
"In December I got my confidence back and playing and doing well," he said. "Then I got an injury. But I've always been confident in my own ability, coming off the bench, playing, starting, whatever. Just the fact . . . I am getting consecutive games I feel that now my injuries are over. I can take this game and keep playing well for Rangers."