PHILADELPHIA — Beas is back.
If there were ever any doubt that DaMarcus Beasley had indeed returned to US national-team camp for the first time since his surprise call-up to the World Cup last summer, it was gone as soon he flashed a signature smile and took the stage in front of his new teammates on Tuesday.
Beasley — who arrived a day late to the US camp ahead of the team’s clash against Mexico on Wednesday (9 pm ET, ESPN2/Univisión) — was immediately embraced by fellow USMNT mainstay Landon Donovan, then strolled into a circle of newcomers and veterans alike to provide some words of wisdom and some hysterics for the American team.
And he was the old Beasley with the media as well, defending his reputation as one of the most likable faces to ever wear a USA kit.
“It’s good to be back,” Beasley said with a grin. “I feel like a new player. I haven’t seen some of [the reporters] in a few years, so it’s like I’m a new guy on the team. It’s good. It’s like the first day of school.”
Beasley reported late to camp because of some struggles arriving from Mexico, where he’s currently trying to rejuvenate his career with Puebla FC. It has worked so far, at least in the eyes of US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who offered Beasley a chance with the US team this time around after Beasley saw limited action as a sub in South Africa last year and wasn’t called to the Gold Cup squad earlier this summer.
“Honestly, I was surprised,” Beasley said. “I didn’t expect to be called in, but it’s a new era. I’m just one of the guys trying to fit in.”
Injury rules out Goodson
Center back Clarence Goodson will miss Wednesday’s match because of a hamstring injury suffered during a match on Sunday with his Danish club, Brøndby. Klinsmann said Tuesday that he will not replace Goodson on short notice and will instead carry a 21-man roster into the match against Mexico.
With Goodson out, the likely starting pairing in the center is Carlos Bocanegra and New York Red Bulls youngster Tim Ream. Steve Cherundolo is expected to start on the right, while the left back slot appears to be an open race between Club América’s Edgar Castillo, FC Dallas’ Zach Loyd, Chivas USA’s Heath Pearce or even Michael Orozco Fiscal of Mexican side San Luis.
Bummer summer for ‘Dolo
The ankle injury that knocked Cherundolo out of the 4-2 loss to Mexico in the Gold Cup final earlier this summer all but derailed the US team’s defense, and it put a damper on the Bundesliga veteran’s summer vacation.
Cherundolo, who has recently flirted with retirement from the US national team, is set to earn his 73rd cap in Wednesday’s match.
“That definitely ruined my summer,” Cherundolo said of the injury. “I didn’t get much vacation. I had a swollen ankle for a few weeks. And I didn’t have a proper preseason. So I’m playing catch-up as far as fitness goes and my health.
“I’m definitely behind schedule but I’ll make a full recovery eventually,” he said. “I feel good and hopefully I’ll get a few minutes tomorrow.”
Rafa praises Klinsmann
New York Red Bulls star and Mexican national team stalwart Rafa Márquez was decidedly in favor of the recent Klinsmann hiring.
“It’s going to be different [under Klinsmann], and I believe that change is always good at the beginning,” he said Tuesday. “We all know Jurgen and the good work he did with Germany. He’ll probably give the United States national team a different look.”
“It’s another person and he’s totally different [than Bradley],” he added. “I believe he knows American soccer well, since he’s been around here for a while, and I think that’s going to be beneficial for that national team.”