In a time of seemingly constant flux for the U.S. men's national team, DaMarcus Beasley remains a link between past and present.
The 30-year-old Beasley's staying power has to be one of the most under-appreciated feats among U.S. internationals. Just three caps shy of the 100 milestone -- which only 12 other U.S. players have reached -- Beasley's recent showings with Mexican top-flight side Puebla, coupled with the USA's need for capable wingers, was just cause for Jurgen Klinsmann to call on him for upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico and potentially get Beasley within one of the century mark. Between the number of injuries he has endured while battling Father Time, it would not have been unexpected to see Beasley fizzle out into the waning days of his playing career. Instead, he is where he has been for more than a decade: part of a group trying to qualify for another World Cup.
"Beas overall has played a good first part of his season right now," Klinsmann said on a conference call following the release of the U.S. roster Monday. "Beas is just a wonderful player, because he can solve you different things on the field in different positions if needed. His personality is always a giving personality to the group, to our team, and so we always followed him over the last 18 months, especially [U.S. assistant coach] Martin Vazquez. He went down to Puebla for the Under-20 championship, he met with the people at Puebla, he watched a training session of Beasley, talked to them, talked to the coach so we knew exactly where he was at right now. and therefore we're happy to have him back again in the group."
Beasley's shiftiness, pace and versatility remain his chief assets, and while he may not be in the prime of his career anymore, he is still playing a key role for a team fighting for a place in the Clausura Liguilla (eight-team playoffs) and is in the semifinals of the Copa MX cup competition. Beasley scored his third goal of the season for Puebla this past week in the Copa MX quarterfinals against Pachuca, running onto an overhead volleyed pass from a teammate in the box and splitting two defenders. He had his initial shot saved but stayed alert to slot home the rebound, and his wisdom and experience -- 11 years ago he was on the U.S. roster for the 2002 World Cup -- are going to be valuable for a hobbled U.S. team in dire need of both.
Beasley was not the only U.S. call-up to score this past week, as Jozy Altidore added to his career year with his 25th goal in all competitions, and Herculez Gomez notched another tally in the CONCACAF Champions League to help Santos Laguna reach the semifinals. Here is how they and the rest of the Americans abroad contingent fared (season statistics encompass all competitions):