HOUSTON – DaMarcus Beasley’s been biding his time.
Dealing with a calf injury initially suffered in August, until last week Beasley had been in and out of the Houston lineup for nearly a month. He missed four of the Dynamo’s five games from Aug. 21-Sept. 20, playing just 24 minutes before being removed in his lone appearance on Aug. 29.
The veteran left back made his return to the lineup last week, not missing a beat in Houston’s victories against Sporting Kansas City and the Colorado Rapids.
The 33-year-old US international assisted on Will Bruin’s winning goal in a 1-0 win last Wednesday over SKC and was a key part of a winning effort over the Rapids on Saturday. Fully recovered, Beasley has his eyes on helping Houston make a run to the playoffs and, while it’s not currently at the top of his list, a certain CONCACAF match on October 10.
“Not really. First and foremost I need to play here. If I wasn’t fit here I wouldn’t play with the national team,” Beasley said. “My first priority was to get back and help the Dynamo and help myself get back to 100 percent. Yeah the game’s important for us to get to the Confederations Cup in 2017 and obviously it’s against Mexico, our biggest rival. It’s going to be a great game, a great atmosphere. If I’m fit and playing well I’m sure I’ll get the call.”
A leader in the US locker room, Beasley has been pegged as an integral part of the national team setup by manager Jurgen Klinsmann, who helped persuade Beasley to come out of international retirement ahead of this summer’s Gold Cup.
Beasley is equally indispensable to the Dynamo. His presence and ability to control the game in defense and get forward in the attack adds a unique dimension to Houston’s lineup.
“We all know what DaMarcus brings; he’s a world class player,” said Houston captain Brad Davis. “I’m excited that he’s back and fit and healthy. He’s one of the guys that without a doubt we rely on to bring some leadership to that back line. He gets forward, he attacks. I think we’ve had a good relationship when he and I have been in the lineup next to each other.”
That ability was on display on Beasley’s assist against Sporting, when he beat two defenders to get to the end line and squared a ball to Bruin at the back post to clinch the win. While it was a great result, Beasley wasn’t taking too much credit.
“Nah, actually I can’t take credit for that,” Beasley said with a laugh. “I didn’t have an angle and I just tried to hit it as hard as I could … the ball bounced right to Will who was in a great place. Great that it went to him and not a Kansas City player.”
While he didn’t see Bruin, his impact in Houston has been quite evident. Remaining healthy for the eighth-place Dynamo will be important for the club’s success down the stretch, with Houston looking to claw past San Jose and Portland and above the red line.
It will also be huge for the USMNT, who could certainly use him at left back for the Oct. 10 CONCACAF Cup against Mexico.
“For me … DaMarcus is the best left back in North America, bar none,” said Houston head coach Owen Coyle. “That’s both defensively for us and the attacking sense. DaMarcus gives us that confidence in the back and that quality on the ball.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.