Saturday, February 14, 2009
Bring back Run DmB
AP Photo/Will Shilling
DaMarcus Beasley has struggled lately to see playing time in Europe, and his future as a starting contributor to the United States national team has been called into question. He is still a great attacking talent and his speed is still unmatched, but not playing hurts a player’s physical and mental sharpness as well as his confidence. Beasley needs to come back to America and rejuvenate his career.
In 2002, the United States shocked the world by reaching the quarterfinals of the World Cup. Beasley emerged from that tournament as one of the promising young stars that would lead the country for years to come. The next summer he was named to the Major League Soccer’s Best XI, and the following year he moved onto even bigger things, transferring to Dutch superpower PSV Eindhoven. He immediately earned the starting left midfield spot on the team and became the first American player to appear in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League. He spent two seasons with the team and scored 10 goals in league play before being loaned to English Premier League side Manchester City. All this time he was a regular starter for the national team. He used his incredible speed to fly up and down the left flank and become one of the top attacking targets, scoring 12 goals to bring his national team tally total to 15. He earned a spot on his second World Cup team. Then in the summer of 2007 he signed with Rangers Football Club, one of the top teams in the Scottish Premier League. His career hasn’t been the same since then.
His tenure with Rangers started off well, playing consistently and productively. Four months into his stay, however, he was involved in a collision with a goalkeeper and needed surgery to repair damaged knee ligaments, forcing him to miss the majority of the season. Beasley fell out of favor, and this year he has appeared in only nine games total out of 30, not including friendlies. For a number of those matches he hasn’t even dressed as part of the first team, let alone sit as a sub.
This lack of playing time couldn’t come at a more crucial time. While Rangers may not consider him a priority, the United States national team couldn’t need him more. These next two years are the most critical in the nation’s history, culminating with the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The United States are currently in the final stages of regional qualifying matches for the World Cup. The team is also participating in the Gold Cup, another regional tournament, as well as the FIFA Confederations Cup. In the Confederations Cup the U.S. is grouped with world superpowers Egypt, Italy, and Brazil.
The competitions are numerous and high in intensity and importance. It is imperative that the U.S. fields its best team possible. Beasley used to be a part of the country’s top lineup, but Head Coach Bob Bradley stresses that his players need to get consistent first team action with their respective clubs. Beasley may still be the most talented left winger the country has, but there are certainly other options available. Robbie Rogers and José Francisco Torres are two young, up and coming athletic left wingers who continue to develop because of the playing time they get with their clubs. Another option for Bradley is to move breakout performer Sacha Kljestan to the left side, and free up a spot for Bradley's personal center midfield favorites Ricardo Clark or Pablo Mastroeni. Of those five players named, four of them are starters in MLS, excluding Torres. Rather than getting stale on the bench for Rangers, Beasley should join his fellow midfielders and come back to the league where his stardom began. While any team would welcome Beasley’s services, a few standout as great fits.
The Chicago Fire was the team Beasley spent his entire MLS career with. He had great successes with them, and the fans loved him. Currently, the team has very few experienced midfielders. By obtaining Beasley and sticking him into the lineup alongside Brian McBride, Chris Rolfe, Cuauhtémoc Blanco, Justin Mapp, and John Thorrington, the Fire would be an absolute offensive juggernaut.
Another team that would be a popular destination for Beasley is the Los Angeles Galaxy. A move to L.A. would reunite Beasley with Head Coach Bruce Arena, the man that served as head coach for both of Beasley’s World Cups. The team has radically changed and improved its lineup in the offseason and Beasley would provide attacking insurance in case another national team star, Landon Donovan, decides to stay in Germany. Playmaking midfielder David Beckham would certainly free up a lot of space for Beasley to run around in and get the ball to in order to make Beasley successful.
Another intriguing move would be to Red Bull New York. The runners-up of last year’s MLS Cup have finally created an identity for themselves over the offseason. The team philosophy now focuses on speed, with such players as Dane Richards, Dominic Oduro, and Macoumba Kandji. However they traded last year’s team MVP Dave van den Bergh, which opened up a huge hole on the left side of the midfield. Beasley would fit in great with the track team that New York has assembled and would fill a huge need. They also have a second designated player spot available to sign him with that would make the transfer financially worthwhile.
A move to MLS doesn’t have to be permanent, either. A successful season or two in America along with productive performances in international play, especially in the World Cup, would make Beasley prominent in the world of soccer again. After the 2010 World Cup he would still only be 28-years-old, young enough to make another successful move to Europe.
So for the sake of Beasley’s career, as well as the future of the national team, it would be in his best interest to make a triumphant return home.
Nike Soccer profiles DaMarcus Beasley in the following clip. Video from Youtube.