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Posted by on Jun 12, 2013 in East, Featured, MLS, National, Philadelphia Union, Recent, USMNT | 20 comments

DaMarcus Beasley MUST be the Union’s next left back

DaMarcus Beasley MUST be the Union’s next left back

The Union have not had a proper left back since the mid-point of the 2011 season when Jordan Harvey was traded to the Vancouver Whitecaps for allocation money. I would be willing to set that point as the beginning of where things went wrong in the Peter Nowak led Union universe, but that is a discussion for another day.

Since Harvey was shipped out for $x (where x is an unknown amount of money that only a select few are privileged to know) there have been, what can be best described as, temporary place holders.

Gabe Farfan did a great job, but was always a midfielder at heart and it is a shame the Union couldn’t work out a midfield that included both he and his brother on the wings.

Ray Gaddis is a spark plug of a player, and despite his best efforts it is clear that he belongs on the right side of defense. Beyond struggling when forced to use his left foot, he just looks out of place when it comes to positioning and the LA Galaxy made it more than clear they saw a weakness at left back and planned (and accomplished) to exploit it.

There was also an experiment with a traffic cone wearing an afro wig, but that was short lived as well.

Isn’t it about time that the issue of left back is finally sorted out?

If you watched the US Men’s National Team game last night the answer was right in front of you. DaMarcus Beasley has reinvented himself into an international left back and has been offered to anyone willing to take him by his club side Puebla.

The speedy former winger has taken the chance offered by a Fabian Johnson injury and a Carlos Bocanegra lack of club playing time and has done nothing short of locking his name into Jurgen Klinsmann’s first choice squad. There was once a question if he would get the chance to earn his 100th cap, but now there is no reason why he won’t see the field in every meaningful game from here to Brazil next summer.

So how does that fit with what the Union is looking for?

  1. He is available – it is not like the Union will be trying to pry him from a club that is intent on keeping him, meaning a lower transfer cost.
  2. We have something Toronto wants – Toronto is top of the Allocation Order right now, and I am assuming I understand that Beasley would need to go through the Allocation Draft as a current USMNT first teamer (who really understands these rules?). It seems Ryan Nelson’s plan is to continue to bolster their lineup with overseas players. To do that they will need international roster spots. The Union don’t seem very keen on using them, so they would be the perfect trade piece with Toronto. The Union’s 5th spot in the order would also go to Toronto which keeps them in contention for any former MLSer or USMNT player in the future.
  3. He fits what Hackworth wants from an outside back – Sure he’s not <21 years old, but he fits all the other boxes of a traditional Hack player. He’s American. He’s fast. He likes to attack from the back. He’s a hard worker.

Could you imagine a Union attack that had Sheanon Williams attacking down the right flank and DaMarcus Beasley down the left? The speed alone would be enough to scare most MLS defenses, but Beasley is much more than speed. His vision to make a run through the center of the Panama defense, receive the ball at speed, and get off a shot that beat the keeper (although it clanged off the post) last night was better attacking play from a left back than any MLS team has seen this season.

The only thing that tells me this deal would never happen is that it makes sense. Logic has never been a center piece to player movement in and out of the Union under either of the managers in franchise history. From the Harvey trade, to the trading or releasing of both left backs (Richards and Garfan) in the first half of the 2013 season, to the handling of exits such as Soumare or Adu the Union have done more tripping over their feet than getting deals right. This is a chance for the Union to not only fill a void in the roster, but make a statement that the front office has ever intention of bringing in talented players to build a winning team and not just to cut corners to save a buck.

Now all we can do is wait and watch to see what happens in the DaMarcus Beasley transfer situation. It is obvious he will be on the move from Puebla, but there is unlikely to be a deal until after the current FIFA international break. It sure would be nice heading into the second half of the MLS season with an actual left back on the roster for the first time in two years.

We can dream can’t we?

20 Comments

  1. While Beasley is a great savvy veteran, you could not be more wrong in your second sentence. Gaddis has been a great left back this season. The Union’s problem is not with their defense, but with their midfield. I have been to or watched on TV every game this season. And there has been one constant…..turnovers in the midfield. Countless times I have watched the defense hold off quick strike counter-attacks that have resulted from poor turnovers by Danny Cruz, Brian Carroll and Kleberson. I don’t put the blame on Cruz as much as the other two. Carroll is our captain who can’t seem to hold the ball in the middle of the field. And I can’t understand why anyone was excited by Kleberson who turns the ball over more than Jack Mac. But in the midfield, turnovers are much more of an issue. And Cruz should mostly be a bench player and only be allowed to play on the left side when Keon is not available.

    The defense does a great job, but they get worn down by having to defend viscous counter-attacks due to these turnovers. And Jack Mac despite his lazy stride, is obviously in good form in front of the net, with LeToux emerging as a wizard with assists. Which brings me back to the midfield. If the Union ever want to climb the MLS ranks and contend, they will need a true game manager at the center mid position more than anything. Another quick footed outside midfielder would be nice but I will take a goalie who can actually handle corners kicks over someone to take Kleberson’s spot. You can always put Farfan back in the full time starting roster.

    • I wouldn’t say Gaddis has been great. That might be a bit over the top. I think his speed has allowed him to cover up some mistakes.

      I would agree with you that the turnovers in midfield have not helped the defense at all, but that is not our only issue. From out of position players, bad man marking discipline to terrible turnovers in terrible positions. It also doesn’t help that there are really no alternatives to changing personnel to fix the problems.

      • Like I said in my first statement. The Union are deep in the defense and truly need help in the midfield. Specifically center midfield. Any reserve money should be used to acquire a center midfielder of a high quality and any trades should give away current players like Carroll, Cruz and/or Torres for a new all-star caliber goalkeeper. I miss Mondragon.

        • Defenders (5): Albright, Gaddis, Williams, Parke, Okugo

          Midfielders: Cruz (8): Daniel, Kleberson, Carroll, Farfan, Torres, Lahoud, Fernandes, Kassel.

          Anding is listed on the website as a defender, but has never actually played that position before in his life and Okugo is actually still listed as a midfielder.

          Not to mention players on loan: McLaughlin (M), Pfeffer (M), Jordan (M), Valdes (D),

          I’m not sure where the idea of defensive depth is coming from.

          • The idea of defensive depth is in the quality not quantity. We have plenty of midfielders and only a few are good enough to help this team. What good is the large number of midfielders when the overall quality and performance is sub-par? And the defense has shown their worth by bailing out the midfielders. Take a look at the LA Galaxy game as a perfect example. Despite the midfield giving up the ball in the midfield and their own half all first half, the Union were in the game. But the defense broke like a beaver dam trying to hold back the Mississippi. It wasn’t their fault. Its like in American football. If the offense goes 3 and out all the time, the defense could be amazing and eventually they would still tire out.

  2. How about Gaddis on the right and Beasley on the left?

    • I guess if Jeff Parke’s injuries continue to plague him, you could put Williams in the center back position and use Okugo in the defense only when needed. But Okugo has been a great convert from midfield to defense under Hackworth. It just goes to what I said in my comment earlier, the Union don’t have holes in the defense. In fact they are deep in that position even when Soumare leaves. They need midfield help. Now early in his career, Beasley was one of the top outside midfielders in the game due to his speed and vision. He could possibly resurrect that at a diminished capacity (minutes wise) and help the Union where they truly need the help. Until they replace Carroll and Zack Mc, we shouldn’t expect to win any hardware.

    • It really comes down to who you feel is better suited on the right. Gaddis or Williams. Gaddis has really great potential, but Williams is so steady and consistent. It’s a good problem to have though.

  3. What would you have them do with Gaddis? He’s far too good of a player to bench him, as is Williams

    • Gaddis unfortunately would have to rotate time with Williams and the big question would come in the offseason. Who do you look to move and fill holes elsewhere? Gaddis is a really great prospect at right back, but he really isn’t a left back. If Williams was a bit taller I would say move him to center back and push Okugo forward, but I think he doesn’t quite have the stature of a center back. Like Gaddis at left back and Okugo at center back, Williams as center back should be used in an emergency and can cover the position well, but shouldn’t be the first choice option.

      • Why not try him on the wing? He’s young and raw enough to convert and absolutely has the speed and ball skills to be a winger. Honestly Gaddis already looks like a winger converted to lb.

  4. I agree that this would make sense, I would rather see the Union spen money in the summer transfer window on a LM or CM. I’m not saying this is a bad idea, or that I would be upset to see him signed, in fact I would be happy to see him here, if for no other reason than the Union actually signed for a position of need. Also my other worry would be that we would pay a substantial amount of money to a player who will be missing a lot of time due to NT commitments. I see both positives and negatives with doing this. Like I said if it happened I would not be upset.

    • Before bringing in someone else to try and play the attacking role centrally in our midfield I would like to see Torres actually given an extended run with the first team. Even two starts I think would be enough to really know if he is still a worthy option. If not you have to move him on. There are a lot of holes however that need filled. I felt that with an opportunity to sign a top notch left back (and he could fill in at left midfield if needed) we shouldn’t pass up this opportunity.

  5. “The only thing that tells me this deal would never happen is that it makes sense.”

    Said a mouthful there.. Perfect idea though in theory, i’m all for it.

  6. If you can get Beasley, you have to get him. Figure out the rest later.

    Figure out what Torres is, if he can’t start, move him.

    And then figure out who you would rather have at RB, and move the other. (they would probably keep gaddis since he is cheaper).

    With kleberson, Soumare, one of the RBs, and possibly Torres off the books then you can figure out the GK situation over the winter with more money at hand.

    • Couldn’t agree more.

  7. Does Beasley want to play left back full time? If he does, then grab him! I agree about the MacMath Expirement. It’s about time he got some competition to push him a little bit. Why didnt we try to grab Kevin Hartman when he was available? That would have been a good signing.

    • Beasley’s got a shot to start for the national team at left back. His biggest problem is that he isn’t experienced at the position. Any reason he wouldn’t want to cement his position for the USA by getting as many reps at lb as possible?

  8. Are we really talking about how great the defense is with the number of goals this team has given up? Williams has been garbage this season. To say he is mailing it in would be too generous. Gaddis has been woeful, but in his defense he’s being forced into a position he doesn’t play. Because LB needs are “laughable.”

  9. We sound like teenagers with Dad’s credit card.
    (1) Pay Puebla for the transfer
    (2) Pay RunDMB what will likely be on the high side (and if he asks for DP money, then the answer is probably no)
    (3) How much cap space+allocation money does the U have right now?

    I’m guessing (1)+(2)>(3), but the allocation figures are always fuzzy. I would like it, just don’t see it.

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