DaMarcus Beasley and Sacha Kljestan: At A Career Crossroads
The 3-0 loss to Brazil on Thursday delivered what will hopefully be in the proverbial hammer on DaMarcus Beasley and Sacha Kljestan’s current inclusion with the U.S. National Team.
These two players are on a similary trajectory in form lately, down. However, the two players are markedly different with regards to their current playing situation.
DaMarcus Beasley has been floundering for the past few years, failing to find the good form that he displayed earlier in the decade. He has struggled with the national team as well as with his various club teams, being bounced around a few times before finally settling in with his currently club Rangers of the Scottish Premier League (and my settling in, I mean on the bench).
To give Beasley some credit, he has been plagued with injuries during this long stretch of poor form, but after years without improvement or even a return to past playing ability, one has to question where he stands as a professional player, let alone a player with the national team.
At 27 years of age, he should be hitting his peak, which typically lasts until the player reaches his 30s (although the age of peak form has been decreasing lately with players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Kaka all finding themselves in the discussion of best player in the world at a relatively young age).
Sacha Kljestan has also seen his stock decline significantly since breaking out with the U.S. in 2007 and 2008. Throughout those two years Kljestan asserted himself as the best player in the U.S. talent pool that plays in Major League Soccer.
Unfortunately after a Janurary 2009 friendly against a Sweden B team in which Kljestan scored a hat-trick, his form has been on a steady decline for both club and country (this could be in part to a lack of hair, which Kljestan cut short after the Sweden game, or perhaps is was the publicized trial with Scottish team Celtic which failed to produce a transfer).
Kljestan is 23-years-old, four years younger than Beasley’s 27. That’s a lifetime in the world of professional soccer, and Kljestan still have plenty of time to be a vital part of the U.S. team, but at this point neither he nor Beasley should be considered.
Both players must figure out their game, work the kinks out, get back to form, and back to improving as players. For this to happen, both need to be off the table in terms of national team play. Let both players get back to the basics and minimize the expectations that are currently on both of them; Beasley to return to past glory and Kljestan to become a leader of the U.S. national team.
Here’s hoping both happen, Beasley can come back to the team and take on a role as super-sub. If he can regain his form, Beasley coming off the bench and terrorizing teams down the left side of the field could be devastating to opponents, and a very valuable asset for the Americans.
Kljestan could still become a great player for the national team and may even find success as a field player in Europe, but he, like his game, must mature.
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