Is DaMarcus Beasley a Viable Left Back Option for the U.S. National Team?

Peter BrownellContributor IJune 28, 2013

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - MARCH 26:  Javier Aquino (#11) of Mexico fights for the ball with DaMarcus Beasley (#10) of the United States during a match between Mexico and US as part of FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier at The Azteca stadium on March 26, 2013 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Miguel Tovar/Getty Images)
Miguel Tovar/Getty Images

DaMarcus Beasley has filled in admirably at left back for the U.S. men’s national team in its last five World Cup qualifiers. 

Beasley has been instrumental in helping the Yanks win four of these matches and go undefeated throughout the stretch to boot, only dropping points in a 0-0 road draw with Mexico in Azteca Stadium, which is no small feat. 

Despite playing out of position, Beasley, who's normally a midfielder, dealt with the tribulations of playing as a left back with professionalism.  He synced nicely with the other defenders, got forward when the situation deemed appropriate and showed off his pace in tracking some of CONCACAF’s more dangerous attacking threats.

He was also good in possession, competently playing simple balls out of the back to allow the USMNT the opportunity to build from deep in their own defensive third. 

He did, though, sometimes struggle to defend in one-on-one situations.  This is no fault of Beasley, who throughout his international career was rarely asked to defend when isolated on the flank.  It is no easy task, either, to stay with some of the speedsters of Mexico, Honduras and others.  So, it is understandable that Beasley was dribbled past on some occasions. 

Logic and father time would suggest that the U.S. veteran is likely in the twilight of his international career.  At age 31, it is undeniable that at some point his blistering pace will fade at least slightly. 

So, those two factors, Beasley’s age and his tendency to sometimes get beat off the dribble encompass the crux of the DaMarcus Beasley at left back conundrum.  Can he truly be considered a viable option for the Yanks as the team continues to progress towards what looks like a shoe-in World Cup qualification bid?

The mind suggests that Beasley is likely not the best option for Jurgen Klinsmann going forward at left back for the U.S.  The heart, however, remembers all the glory Beasley has brought to the U.S. over the years and hopes that he can continue to crack the starting eleven, even if he is out of position at left back. 

Klinsmann seems to have found a tactical recipe he has been sticking too as of late.  So, it is unlikely that the Yanks will see too much player change over the next year.  The wildcard, though, is the re-inclusion of the team’s most capped and prolific scorer in history, the electric Landon Donovan. 

Should Donovan return and do well at the Gold Cup, it is quite sensible to assume he will be back for the USMNT’s final World Cup qualifiers.  That means that Donovan will probably take over at left midfield and push Fabian Johnson further back on the pitch to left fullback, effectively ending Beasley’s solid stay at the position. 

It will be a difficult decision for Klinsmann because of how well Beasley has done.  He is a true professional and a U.S. soccer legend. 

Time will tell if the U.S. manager decides to take that route.  For now, U.S. fans can feel confident that Beasley is a smart enough soccer player to continue to get the job done at left back.  His next challenge will be in the upcoming Gold Cup. If the U.S. can win the trophy and Beasley can keep up the solid work, it will even further bolster his case to remain in Klinsmann’s starting back four.