Kyle Beckerman Deserves to be Named in USMNT World Cup Squad

It’s been a long time coming for Kyle Beckerman. A player I personally watched closely as a youngster, when he was a “Nike Project-40” prospect that had just graduated from the Bradenton Academy and assigned to the Miami Fusion, is closing in on a World Cup spot for the US Men’s National Team.

When Beckerman arrived in Fort Lauderdale in 2000 to play for the Fusion, it was obvious he was a uniquely gifted player. But Beckerman’s unique skill set of controlling tempo and technical ability on the ball was special, but his positioning sense and anticipation of oncoming attacks was not. As a holding midfielder, the United States tended to like destroyer-type players like his former Fusion teammate Pablo Mastroeni or Chris Armas. Opportunities for Beckerman to break into the full national team were limited.

A concern about the player’s ability to play at a higher tempo was also evident, and throughout the Bruce Arena and Bob Bradley years he remained on the periphery of the national team. His performance at the Copa America in 2007 I thought was solid, but the team bombed and his style of play clearly did not mix with the rest of the side.

When Jürgen Klinsmann became the head coach of the United States in the summer of 2011, he immediately included Beckerman in his plans. A player that was often judged as slow and overly deliberative in his touches on the ball was thrown into central midfield.

Advocates of a certain style of play and central midfielder can argue with the continued selection of the Real Salt Lake man. But judging based on his performances, nobody can argue that he has earned a trip to Brazil this summer — a World Cup rookie at the age of 31.

Wednesday night, in the United States 2-2 draw with Mexico, Beckerman controlled the central midfield and his growing awareness of positioning and simple balls allowed Michael Bradley to run rampant in a first-half the US dominated. Klinsmann had set out an experimental midfield diamond that depended entirely on Beckerman’s play to control the tempo of the match. The USA raced out to a 2-0 first half lead before a Mexican revival, stimulated partly by massive substitutions, ended the match in a deadlock.

Kyle Beckerman is on the cusp of making the US World Cup squad. For few American players has the road ever been longer and yet potentially more rewarding. The setbacks have made Beckerman a better player, a potential starter in Brazil.

6 thoughts on “Kyle Beckerman Deserves to be Named in USMNT World Cup Squad”

  1. He’ll be in the squad, but I hope for the sake of the US he never sees the pitch. I don’t understand what you (and some others) see in him. Too slow, not a good passer, commits fouls in bad parts of the pitch while trying to make up for his lack of pace, often tactically unaware, and he did a horrible job at helping Omar against Mexico. A strong defensive mid should have the ability to help his center backs, not point the finger when there are mistakes. And boy do I hate how he strides around the midfield constantly pointing at where he thinks the next pass should go.

    He is fine for RSL in MLS, but against world class competition he is an absolute disaster waiting to happen, particularly because the US doesn’t have a strong back line right now.

    If he goes to Brazil I hope the only action he sees is in a drum circle on a beach.

  2. He is fantastic cover for Jermaine Jones. It’s likely that Jones ends up picking too many Yellow Cards and might open up a spot for Beckerman.

    In the Mexico game, it was almost a midfield diamond with him covering for Bradley. Maybe Beckerman is a late sub for Jones that allows Bradley to get further forward.

    On current form, he looks better than Edu for the spot. His main competition might come from Cameron would could play Def Mid too.

  3. “He is fine for RSL in MLS, but against world class competition…..”

    Well to be honest that can be said about many players in MLS.

    He isn’t any worse then Eddie Johnson a forward who has little to no touch and poor Ball Control.

    With MLS and US born limited quality of defensive players (either holding Mid D or backline D), their isn’t a lot of choices and Berkerman is worth taking and playing, maybe not always starting but he can be helpful and useful in key situations and games.

    The issue in the United States, top quality Defensive players are not developed. We’ve had some, like Eddie Pope and a few others, but it’s far and few between. The US develops very good GK and decedent player makers (midfield) but not much else including pure strikers.

    Beckerman isn’t any worse (and possibly better) than what Coach Bradley put out in the 2010 world cup with:

    Bornstein, Clark, Ricardo, DeMerit, Jay, Onyewu, Oguchi, Spector, Jonathan.

    Bradley had to keep making 2 subs before half time due to all the mistakes the US defenders (and holding Mids) made.

    Let’s hope Klinsmann doesn’t have to do the same.

  4. Kartik how old are you? He work well with MLS but no match for international play. The story headline should have read; Wondo Deserves to be Named in USMNT World Cup Squad. Then. I would say your not a journalist but a Futbool journalist.
    Wondo is cut out for the international level, he just keeps, you know, scoring goals. With another against Mexico, the Earthquakes striker has now scored nine in his last 10 matches for the USA. More importantly, after racking up a number of those goals against CONCACAF minnows in friendlies and the Gold Cup this summer, Wondo has now scored three in the USA’s last two friendlies against Korea and Mexico – both of which are World Cup bound. He has a striker’s instinct that nobody else in the player pool does, and it could take him to Brazil.

  5. I can’t believe this article exists. Half of Mexico’s second half chances were because he didn’t have the pace to track back.

    If Beckerman is in Brazil this summer, we might as well give up and not go. I think Jurgen is smarter than this.

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