United States men's national team midfielder Alejandro Bedoya's solid game in a 1-0 win over the Czech Republic is what Nantes officials expect in Ligue 1. Is Bedoya primed to be a star in France?
Evading the attention of Czech midfielder Vladimir Darida, Bedoya seized the space Czech centre-back Vaclav Prochazka relinquished as he charged out of position to pressurise Diskerud.
The awareness to create separation from Darida, who panicked after losing the ball to Diskerud, is one example of how quickly Bedoya reads and reacts to a situation.
Like Ed Carpenter being in pole position at the Indianapolis 500, Bedoya was ahead of everyone when Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech parried Diskerud's shot.
Bedoya's previous goal against Guatemala also occurred when he was first to the loose ball.
The energy sapping run to get wide-open exemplifies Bedoya's work-rate.
His belief, determination and grit are factors in him sustaining a European career after bypassing Major League Soccer as a bona fide college prospect.
"Alejandro came in last spring [from Fairleigh Dickinson University], which was a big help," Boston College manager Ed Kelly said in 2007, per Andy Gardiner at USA Today. "We changed our system to allow him to become an attacking midfielder, and he has become the focus of our offense."
Bedoya scored 27 goals and accumulated 23 assists in 72 games for Boston and "earned All-America honors twice," per Boston College's official website.
Rebuffing the MLS, Bedoya opted to sign for Orebro, a small Swedish club.
"I just felt that going to Europe, I would grow more as a player, becoming mentally stronger," Bedoya said in 2010, per Ravi Ubha at ESPN. "People maybe might think I was going over there just for the money, but I think the atmosphere and whole scene gets you."
Orebro was a stepping stone to Rangers.
Though, the Scottish giants had serious money problems.
It was as if William Wallace plunged his sword into the heart of Rangers' finances.
"Of course I would have loved to stay at a club like this [Rangers] and won some titles," Bedoya said, per Ewing Grahame at The Telegraph. "It's a shame, really what has been going on with the club."
Choosing to sign with Helsingborgs, a Swedish club with a bigger profile than Orebro, was a shrewd move.
European teams from bigger leagues have a history of targeting players from Helsingborgs.
- Alexander Gerndt → Utrecht (2011)
- Joel Ekstrand → Udinese (2011)
- Marcus Nilsson → Utrecht (2011)
- Rasmus Jonsson → Wolfsburg (2011)
- Adama Tamboura → Metz (2010)
- Andreas Landgren → Udinese (2010)
- Andreas Granqvist → Wigan Athletic (2007)
- Luton Shelton → Sheffield United (2007)
- McDonald Mariga → Parma (2007)
The stopover at Helsingborgs opened the door to Nantes.
|27||5'10"||161 lbs||United States |
|Credit: Nantes' official website|
 Colombian heritage, per Natalia Zea at CBS Miami.
Bedoya's high football IQ allows him to seamlessly chop and change midfield positions.
"I'm a versatile player," Bedoya said, per Ligue 1's official website. "I've been used here on the right [wing], on the left [wing], as a central midfielder, as well as a right wing-back."
This offers Nantes manager Michel Der Zakarian flexibility.
Bedoya is a spark centrally and an industrious worker on the right flank.
"He [Bedoya] is technically excellent and is also prepared to work for the good of the team," Der Zakarian said, per Ligue 1's official website. "His movement is always intelligent and he makes the right decisions."
Taking the ball from defence to midfield, Bedoya sets up a passing combination and ends up getting a clear sight on goal against Montpellier.
This is the incisive play and tactical nous Der Zakarian is referring to.
Bedoya timed his run perfectly as he beat Monaco right/centre-back Andrea Raggi to a header.
Zipping into the Valenciennes box unmarked, Bedoya's half-volleyed goal was technically superb.
While Bedoya is a self-sacrificing starter, his productivity must drastically improve.
- Four goals from 44 shots is inefficient.
- In 34 Ligue 1 games, he has yet to record an assist.
What may hold Bedoya back from turning into a star is he is too team-focused. Bedoya needs to be more selfish and put up better numbers.
This season, he is goalless and has not created a goal in four Ligue 1 games. If this downward trend drags on for Nantes, he will continue to be slated by L'Equipe.
Bedoya will certainly "feel old" if he loses his Nantes starting position to an academy prospect thrown into the deep end Jurgen Klinsmann-style by Der Zakarian.
Statistics via WhoScored