STANFORD, Calif. – DaMarcus Beasley knows exactly where he’ll fit in if he makes the US national team roster for the 2014 World Cup – he’s just not sure what will come after that.
Speaking to reporters at USMNT camp at Stanford University on Wednesday, Beasley revealed that he was indeed looking to leave Liga MX outfit Puebla, where he has played since 2011, but put to rest rumors that he was set for an MLS return.
“I have not spoken to any MLS team, I don’t know where that’s coming from,” Beasley told the gathered media. “It is true that I’m looking to leave Puebla, I will say that, but as far as MLS, as far as any other country, any other team, I have not been in contact with anyone.
“My objective is to make this team. I’m not worried about what my future is right now with my club situation.”
If Beasley does make the team, it will almost certainly be as a left back – not the position he’s spent most of his career playing, but the one that’s allowed him to make a comeback to the US national team roster.
Despite being one of the most experienced players in the national team pool heading into 2014 World Cup qualifying, a combination of injuries and a fluid club situation kept him all but out of the national team picture until early 2013, when head coach Jurgen Klinsmann called him up to play left back in a qualifier against Costa Rica, the infamous “Snow Game.”
He hasn’t looked back since – it was the first of 17 games Beasley started that year, including seven World Cup qualifiers and five of six games in the team’s triumphant Gold Cup run.
Helping the veteran of three World Cups in his quest to stay in the team and make a fourth is the fact that he has been playing a similar position in Puebla’s 3-5-2 formation, on the outside left part of the defense.
“I kind of play like a wing back. You cover a lot of ground in that position,” he explained. “It’s a little bit of the same – you know Puebla’s a little more defensive, so I’ve got to defend a little bit more, same as what I do here, I’m a left back.
“My first job is to defend. My first job is not to score goals, even though I was a midfielder most of my career. It is part of the game, that’s a plus for me, for the team, but my job is to cover my center back, make sure we’re good defensively make sure our line is straight, make sure they don’t get many chances.”
With the US coming up against some serious firepower in group opponents Germany, Portugal and Ghana, they’ll need as much defensive help as they can get from Beasley. One of the few remaining holdouts from the USMNT’s improbable run to the 2002 World Cup quarterfinals, he argued that despite the tough draw, the team should hold his 2002 side as a benchmark.
“I mean, now you have six to eight 'million dollar players’ on the team, so expectations have been changed,” Beasley said. “It’s tough to say we’re better than what what we were then because I think 2002 was a great team, it’s hard to compare.
"But yeah, from the media, from fans, even from ourselves, we expect more. We want to get out of this group, we want to better that 2002 team and get past the quarterfinals but we take it one day at a time.”