Direct from Denver
DaMarcus Beasley: "We've Been There, Done That."
Despite new players, a coach who is new to the Hexagonal, and a new article that pointed to dissension within the ranks, it was an old hand, DaMarcus Beasley, who provided some context to tonight's match.
BY Jon Arnold PostedDENVER—It’s tempting to say these are new times for the United States national team. Tonight’s match against Costa Rica will feature a squad missing nearly half its regulars because of injuries or other absences. An article implying significant inner strife was published this week. And even without those hindrances, winning home matches in the Hex is pretty much mandatory. Leave it to an old hand to provide some perspective and remind everyone there’s nothing new under the sun. “We’ve always came through when there’s pressure on for the U.S. team. It’s always been that way since I’ve been here,” DaMarcus Beasley said before Thursday’s training session. “It won’t be any different come tomorrow," he continued. "We embrace the pressure. We know we’re at home. We know we need three points. It’s a very important match. It’s a very important match even though it’s very early in the tournament, but at the same time it’s a very important match. Everyone knows that in qualifying you need to win your home games for sure, 100%. Tomorrow will be no different, and hopefully we put out a good performance tomorrow.” Beasley, a midfielder who could fill in at left back with multiple fullbacks out for these two matches, said qualifying matches are always tough and there are times when they get a little ugly. “Sometimes it won’t be pretty, that’s for you guys to dissect us as players, but if we get three points that’s all that matters,” he said. Those three points would be the magic elixir to the Americans’ woes, and any additional points Tuesday in Mexico would be all the sweeter. Unfortunately, like any magical item, it’s going to require a series of tests to get there. Stopping the Ticos from scoring is the most daunting of those tasks. Jorge Luis Pinto’s rumored starting XI features Bryan Ruiz, of Fulham, and Real Salt Lake forward Alvaro Saborio. Pinto also has Joel Campbell available—a rising star on loan at Real Betis from Arsenal. That group will be coming at a defensive unit that, no matter how Klinsmann assembles it, hasn’t played a competitive match together. “Things have been going pretty well the past few days, and whoever Jurgen decides to put out there I’m sure it’s going to be very comfortable back there and we’re all professionals out here, and I think we can handle any situation,” said Omar Gonzalez, who could line up at center back. Another test will be scoring a goal or two of their own. Goals were hard to come by in 2012 and that continued in the 2-1 loss to Honduras with Clint Dempsey’s strike one of only a few opportunities the U.S. had on goal. Dempsey will be relied upon in attack, along with a number of strikers Klinsmann can utilize. The Costa Rican defense was gaffe-prone in its 2-2 draw with Panama to start their Hex campaign. Pinto has made some changes, but Jozy Altidore and/or Herculez Gomez should be eager. As Beasley reminds us, the Red, White, and Blue is used to these situations and well aware of the need for three points in Denver. Friday night we’ll learn if the team passes the test. Jon Arnold (@ArnoldcommaJon) is a writer based in Arizona and is ASN's CONCACAF correspondent.
March 22, 2013
March 22, 2013