CLEVELAND, Ohio – Alejandro Bedoya has long divided opinion in American soccer circles.
He’s got his supporters, but also those that seem determined to push him off the squad through, a reality he recognizes.
Saturday was a big moment for him. He assisted on two of the USA’s three goals and earned a penalty. He captained the side while leading almost every American foray into the attacking third. He was able to break down the Nicaraguan defense multiple times in a performance he said was “not bad,” but in fact was memorable enough that it could go a long way toward bringing divided opinions on him together.
Not that he cares whether it happens or not.
“Everybody’s got their cup of tea, so whatever,” he said. “Whenever I step over those white lines I do my best for the team. I know I got the attributes and the ability. My game speaks for itself.”
At the very least, Bedoya can be safe in the knowledge his coach has his back.
“I think those people are pretty stupid, whoever they may be,” Arena said of Bedoya's detractors. “Alejandro is a very good player. In the three or four week period we’ve been together he continues to demonstrate that.”
Arena is just the latest in a line of national team coaches to call Bedoya into the team for competitive international matches.
“I’ve been with the national team through three different coaches, so I must be doing something right,” he quipped.
He made his international debut in 2010 under Bob Bradley, was consistently part of the setup during Jurgen Klinsmann’s four plus years in charge, and continues to feature under Arena, who often praises his versatility while continuing to start him in big games.
Bedoya is now leaving the Gold Cup squad as he awaits the birth of his second child. He concludes this tournament with three appearances, two starts, and the pair of assists from Saturday night. He would love to stick around through the quarterfinals, but some thing are just more important than soccer right now.
“I’m welcoming a new love to this world," Bedoya said, "so I’m looking forward to that.”
Congratulations on the new arrival, Ale. We’ll see you in September for some big World Cup qualifiers.