Weeks after losing his starting job to the incoming Beasley, Ashe stepped into his familiar role at left back and chipped into the defensive effort, albeit in a 3-0 loss to the Columbus Crew in which the defense shared a lion’s share of the blame.
Ashe declined to talk to media Monday, but after stepping back into a starting role, even in a loss, it showed he’s capable of handling a tough situation.
“I don’t think there’s anything anyone could question Corey about,” said forward Giles Barnes. “Ever since the day he knew he might not be starting he’s been out here working and doing his thing and that’s Corey all over.
“I can’t praise Corey enough. He’s a good player as well. He’s accepted what’s happened, and he’s working hard day-in-and-day-out.”
Ashe was the odd man out when the club made a big move signing Beasley as its third Designated Player in team history. With Beasley seen as a left back, Ashe was forced to take a seat after making 106 starts over 3½ years since switching from the midfield to the backline. In that time he was selected to MLS All-Star team twice, in 2011 and 2013, and wore the captain’s armband on several occasions.
This season, however, Ashe was part of a defense that’s struggled mightily to keep the ball out of the net. Looking for a jolt, Houston signed Beasley. According to teammates, Ashe handled the situation the way a true professional would.
“He’s got a great character and he’s shown that through this whole instance going from being a starter to a bench player,” said midfielder Ricardo Clark. “He’s still kept it professional and is still the same person in the locker and has shown great character throughout everything. That’s a testament to him and who he is as a person and the type of guy you need in the locker room.”
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If Beasley’s hamstring keeps him out of Friday’s rivalry game with Sporting Kansas City (8 pm ET; NBCSN, stream at NBCSports.com) conventional wisdom suggests that Houston will likely turn to Ashe again.
As for Beasley, he spent Monday’s training session working on the side as the Dynamo starters had a rejuvenation session. When asked about Beasley’s health, head coach Dominic Kinnear pointed to the club having until Friday to assess his availability.
“He’s out of now and we’ll see,” Kinnear said of Beasley. “He went out jogging today, and we have until Friday to see if he can play or not.
“[Corey’s] training well, and when he’s been asked to play he’s ready. He’s been very professional about it.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.