DaMarcus Beasley’s homecoming will be complete when he takes the field for the Dynamo, but another part of the buildup was checked off the list when the 32-year-old was introduced to Houston’s media on Thursday. In the process, the natural midfielder made it clear: The U.S. international considers his conversion to fullback to be complete.
“Do I see myself as a left back? Yes.” he said at Thursday’s press conference, according to the league’s website. Beasley was the left back for every minute of the U.S. at Brazil 2014. “Jurgen [Klinsmann] had the confidence in me to play left back in the World Cup against some of the best players in the world, so I’ve got to have confidence in myself I can play that position.”
Though fullback has become his regular spot for the U.S., Beasley has not been able to boost play the position at club level, where he’s been used almost exclusively as a midfielder. Through his time with the Chicago Fire, PSV Eindhoven, Glasgow Rangers, Hannover, and Puebla, the IMG Academy product has persisted in wide midfielder, where he has accumulated most of his 120 caps with the national team.
Since Jurgen Klinsmann took over the team, however, Beasley has been used almost exclusively at left back, and while that spurred initial concerns about the U.S.’s lack of depth at the position, Beasley’s performance in Brazil quelled any notion the one-time winger could cover the position.
With Corey Ashe having established himself at left back for Houston, it’s still unclear where the team’s latest Designated Player will play.
“He can fit in the midfield, he can fit in the back,” Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear said, before implying Beasley’s position was secondary to the overall package.
“Longevity and consistency are two of his main traits,” Kinnear explained. “When you look at him you have the feeling he can play a couple of more years.”
Beasley, however, strongly hinted his mind’s in defense. Again from MLSSoccer.com:
“I see myself as a defender. Wherever Dom’s going to put me is where I fit best into the team I’ll play it,” Beasley continued. “Do I still have the midfield mentality sometimes? Of course. Do I still want to score goals? Of course. I never have that out of mind when I play. But I do have a job to do being a defender and that’s to defend and that’s my first job.”
Regardless of Beasley’s preferences, Houston’s footing part of this bill, and Kinnear needs to decide where he fits best. Though Ashe is entrenched at left back, a change wouldn’t be the most shocking decision, given how poorly the entire Dynamo defense has played this season. When Ashe clumsily conceded a penalty kick this weekend against Toronto, he reminded viewers he’s been part of the problem.
Then again, Houston could also move left midfielder Brad Davis to the middle, where he has played off-and-on over the last few years. A four-man midfield of Beasley, Davis, Boniek Garcia and Ricardo Clark would be one of the more enviable quartets in Major League Soccer, providing a solution that kept their former All-Star left back in the lineup.
If you’re looking for a thin hint as to Beasley’s future, consider the person Houston traded to get to the top of MLS’s allocation order. A year ago, Warren Creavalle’s progress convinced the Dynamo to trade ball-winner Adam Moffat to Seattle. Now, Creavalle’s a member of Toronto FC, with the Dynamo willing to give up a central midfielder without getting one in return.