GUADALAJARA, Mexico – It has been a year of evolution for Puebla’s American duo DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Orozco in terms of positioning, with obvious repercussions for the US national team.
Under Argentine coach Rubén Omar Romano, Beasley is usually the left wingback for La Franja in a loose 5-3-2 formation. And Orozco is on the right of three center backs, with license to move forward. He shifts to right back on the occasions Romano opts for a back four.
Romano seems genuinely pleased with how both players have adapted to their roles in his system, although believes 31-year-old Beasley is better as a wingback than a left back in a back four, as he plays for the US national team.
“I think that [Beasley] can function much better as a wingback because he’s continually pushing forward,” Romano told MLSsoccer.com by phone from Puebla on Wednesday. “He’s good at getting back and has more chance of doing a lot more damage [in the final third] with the element of surprise.”
Romano describes Beasley as a “very professional” person who is well liked in the Puebla squad, trains well and is dangerous not just on the wing but also when he cuts inside on the diagonal.
The attack-minded former Club América coach is equally effusive, if not more so, in his praise of Orozco, who is enjoying an excellent Apertura season at the club.
“He’s a player with a good temperament and with a lot of personality,” said Romano. “I think he has more defensive stability, that’s why I put him in a line of three. Of course, he is very good up front for set pieces and is also a very reliable player.”
At least in the US soccer press there remains some doubt over Orozco defensively, but Romano simply said that “all players have a bad afternoon,” stressing that the 2012 Olympian has understood the new tactical system very well and been consistent this season.
Finally, Romano explained that the US doing Mexico a favor by defeating Panama 3-2 earlier this month in World Cup qualifying – with Orozco netting – didn’t go uncommented on in Puebla’s dressing room.
“[There were] jokes, saying thanks for Mexico going through and all those little things that go on with footballers,” Romano said.
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.