SEATTLE – DaMarcus Beasley wears the scraggly beard of a college sophomore, but make no mistake: he has been around the block.
This is the fourth CONCACAF Hexagonal the 31-year-old has gone through with the U.S. national team.
A year ago it seemed he was drinking the dregs of his international career. After a handful of appearances through 2010 and 2011, he didn't suit up for the United States in 2012 until August. Then he made a substitute appearance against Mexico, a 0-0 tie, and has since reclaimed a starting spot.
Of course, even his newfound role as a starter isn't straightforward. A career that has spanned the Chicago Fire, PSV Eindhoven, Manchester City, Rangers, Hannover and now Puebla at left midfield has seen the 5-foot-8 Beasley end up at left back for Jürgen Klinsmann's side.
“It's different. It's a whole different position,” Beasley said. “I play striker sometimes at Puebla and left mid. Here I play left back. It's totally different. For me, it's about being on the field and whatever position Jurgen wants me to play, it doesn't matter. As long as I'm still contributing to the team and helping the team win I don't mind what position I play in.”
Most recently Beasley helped the United States keep a clean sheet in a 2-0 win over Panama that moved the Stars and Stripes top of the table in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.
With roughly 10 minutes remaining in the match, Beasley made an overlapping run, sprinting between defenders and putting his one-on-one shot off the post. The burst of pace resembled his energetic performances as a teenager when he played in the 2002 World Cup.
“I still got it! I still got it! Nah, I'm kidding,” he said. “Jurgen gives me the green light to go. ... When I get my chances to go forward I like to go forward. I was unlucky not to score today. I think seven years ago that would have been in the net, 100 percent. One hundred percent.”
The only blotch on Beasley's performance was a yellow card he collected in the waning minutes of the match. It was his second in the Hex, enough to suspend him for the upcoming match against Honduras in Utah. Fabian Johnson, who has been playing on the left wing, is a likely candidate to shift back into Beasley's role in defense.
“The way I play is the way I play,” Beasley said. “I don't think it was a yellow card – my first foul in the whole game. Probably my first foul in three games. But he gave me one, and I'm out. I don't think about if somebody's going to take my position or not. I'm not that type of person.”
Much can change ahead of the next World Cup qualifiers in September. Before then, Beasley must sort out his club situation. After two years in Puebla, the club put him on the transfer list. However, no Mexican club purchased him prior to the Liga MX trade deadline, meaning he can only stay with Puebla or leave the country to continue his career.
“That's basically the deal,” he said. “We'll see in the next couple weeks. I'd like to stay, but we'll see.”
Whatever happens with his club situation, Beasley is here to stay with the USA.
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