Top Stories

Beckerman blossoming in role as backbone of USMNT Gold Cup midfield

BeckermanStripes (

Photo by


As U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann continues to tinker with his central midfield set-up in the 2013 Gold Cup, there has been one constant.

Kyle Beckerman, now with 28 international caps, has started both of the USMNT matches so far in the Gold Cup, holding down the defensive midfield role while Stuart Holden, Joe Corona, Jose Torres, and Mix Diskerud have been competing for a permanent place.

Heading into the USMNT’s biggest challenge in Group C against Costa Rica on Tuesday night, Beckerman appears to have a target on his back. While his work on the field might go unnoticed by the average fan, the Costa Rica setup has made clear that shutting down Beckerman on the field is a key part of their plan.

“Undoubtedly, Beckerman is someone we have to be watchful of and have to try mark him, blanket him and neutralize him in the game,”Costa Rica head coach Jorge Luis Pinto said on Monday. “We know it won’t be easy, but at the same time they will also need to be wary of us and know that we have players who can play and make things happen with the ball.”

The Real Salt Lake midfielder, known as much for his long dreadlocks as his skill on the field, isn’t new to this competition. Beckerman parlayed a strong season in Major League Soccer to make the Gold Cup squad in 2009, leading the team to the final.

After being left off the 2011 Gold Cup squad by former head coach Bob Bradley, Beckerman has seen a resurgence in the national team under Klinsmann’s reign, and the German manager is particularly fond of the 31-year-old Maryland native. Since Klinsmann took over the National Team in July 2011, Beckerman has featured 16 times, and even when not playing has been part of the squad for numerous World Cup qualifying dates.

“The thinking on Kyle is that he’s a pure team player,” Klinsmann said. “He cleans up so many balls, he’s playing simple, he keeps things moving, and he’s always there for his back line.”

“With the central midfielders, he’s in that race for who’s playing the next game if we rotate a little bit here or there,” Klinsmann said.

In the USMNT’s last match against Cuba, Beckerman had one of his best performances in the red, white, and blue, uniform, controlling the team’s possession and delivering a great assist to Chris Wondolowski for the forward’s first goal of the match.

All of this isn’t surprising to Beckerman’s RSL and USMNT teammate, goalkeeper Nick Rimando.

“He’s always been a player that can play at this level, and I see that every day,” Rimando told SBI ahead of training on Monday. “To be at this environment and play in a meaningful tournament and playing at the highest level with the national team, I think it’s shown for sure.

“He’s got an assist, he’s doing the stuff on the defensive side that he always does, and I think it’s definitely shining at this tournament.”


  1. Another assist coming tonight from him, if not more than one. Morons will continue to discount his relevance to the USMNT. And then the next game, in the quarterfinal, he’ll grab another assist.

  2. Really?! The guy passes the ball backwards 99% of the time. Its easy to connect passes when there is no pressure.

  3. He’s a player with a lot of heart. Smart and disciplined always gives you a fighting chance playing with other smart teammates. Depending on Stu’s defensive abilities, Beckerman might be the backup to the backup at Dmid. I think JK is going to load the team with stout hearted disciplined players that will devotedly follow his game plan. No dim bulbs or loose cannons. So yeah, I think he actually makes the plane, but I doubt he sees the field unless we have a rash of Dmid injuries. He’s ahead of Mo because Mo is so loose with the ball.

  4. I think this article was just written to rev up the educated US fans who know that beckerham is not very good, and is barely a serviceable option on the B team

  5. Beckerman reminds me of Richie Williams. Williams served as the replacement DM when the starter was injured or out with yellow cards. Hardly anyone wanted to see him start against tough competition, but sometimes you need a guy to step up.

    I guess Klinsy would rather have a tested guy in his early 30s than a much more inexperienced guy in his early 20s in case of an emergency next year. I can’t blame him. But if he is not chosen for the WC squad next year, will he do an Agoos and burn his jersey?

  6. Beckerman is clearly the best pure defensive mid on this gold cup squad, and I have no problem with klinsman starting him in this tournament (although he shouldn’t be treated as a surefire starter, and a holden/diskerud pairing could be equally as effective).

    But he still wouldn’t make my world cup squad. I think cameron and edu play the d-mid role better than he does – both are faster-more athletic and from what i’ve seen, better at stopping top competition. Jones has the ability to play the role, but either won’t or is tactically unable, always bombing forward and out of position.

  7. still don’t think he is needed, but the guy is doing very well. hard to argue against him. like i said before, i think a combo of Holden/Torres could easily handle the defensive responsibilities this tourny will throw out at us. i also like the idea of keeping the formation of two #8s like the A team. no matter how much we all want Jones to play that #6, it isn’t gonna happen.

    i could very well be wrong and maybe Torres/Holden is a disaster, but their stats match up as good as Beckerman’s.

    either way, Beckerman is a great guy and he’s getting the job done.

  8. Beckerman fulfills a good role. He’s not starting on the A-Team, but he’s good depth to have at the #6 position. If the US needs to protect a lead in the final 25 minutes of a game, he can be inserted so there are 2 DM’s in-front of the back line.

    Being a Maryland native … he should come play for DC!

  9. Every team needs a few Beckermans.

    He is a team first guy, willing to put in the effort. He is an intelligent player, a good locker room guy, steady… you know what you will get. His game is not without fault… most players have them… this is the fascinating part of mixing/matching complimenting pieces in putting together a team.

    I am a fan of the guy, but understand he has limitations, that… against faster, more aggressive sides, his steady, methodical approach sometimes falters. His lack of speed means an inability to dribble out of trouble into space and can sometimes mean turnovers to quicker, aggressive opposition coming at him and into pa$$ing lanes. On D… his crunching tackles can become late… sometimes in dangerous places. The 1st hex match in Honduras comes to mind.

    That said, he has his place in the pool. Qualifications, tournaments are long. Players need rest. Injuries, suspensions happen. Opposition quality, style, and situation varies. There are plenty of teams in CONCACAF against whom Beckerman more than holds his own. With a few… he begins to struggle. The guy has played a big part in this tournament. The big team? We’ll see what the next year brings. If Cameron’s play at DM continues, it may well push him out. Regardless… if/when we qualify, Beckerman will have played a key role. Qualifying for a WC takes a group effort and more than a few grunts/ foot-soldiers, some of whom don’t make the final cut. Dude is definitely one of those.

  10. Beckerman is a good player but not up to snuff at this level. Sure he looks fine against bad concacaf teams (even though I think he struggled against Belize and had exactly 1 good pass against cuba) but he is not athletic enough to handle the better teams in concacaf or even simply the more athletic. Remember it was Beckerman who created the two fouls that led to Jamaican goals during qualifying. This happens because he is two slow when encountering international level athletes and he plays in a league that rarely punishes hacking.

    Unfortunately, I think Beckerman has a decent chance of making the WC team because I believe he probably is a good locker room guy, has a good work rate, and is probably only competing against EDU, Cameron, and Williams for the back up DM role. IMO he is ahead of Williams(who has more athleticism but is still to raw for this level) and probably behind Cameron and EDU because both of those players are more versatile and give you something in the air on set pieces.

  11. Beckerman is a good player but Holden and Diskerud have had a greater impact in the Midfield than he has. The Guatemala game was locked until Holden and Diskerud showed up taking out Beckerman, Belize game was locked until Holden came in for Beckerman, the Cuba game was locked until Diskerud came in…….Holden and Diskerud are our impact midfielders. Beckerman is a player you put in to strengthen the midfield defensively after you rack up a scoreline, controlling the pace of the game, holding the ball, initiating counters etc. He had a good game and is becoming a better player but the players that have injected life into out midfield and attack are Mix and Holden.

    • Holden had a pretty “meh” performance against Cuba before being subbed out, and Diskerud had ZERO pressure on him at all in the second half… Against both Cuba and Belize, that “unlocking” in the second half was more a result of the opponents wearing themselves out than any magical qualities of Holden or Diskerud (although both played well, I’m not saying they didn’t, I’m just disputing your assertion it was merely a result of their impact).

      Beckerman is definitely NOT a defensive sub…he’s a guy who fights for and wins balls in the midfield and distributes the ball to maintain possession for his team. He does it for RSL, and he’s been doing it for the USMNT. The best way to keep the opponent from scoring is to keep them from having the ball, and that’s his role.

    • “Belize game was locked until Holden came in for Beckerman.”

      No. The score at half-time was 3-1. (And Beckerman got the @ssist for the second goal!) Holden came in for Beckerman at the half.

      “Cuba game was locked until Diskerud came in.”

      No. Diskerud came on in the 58th minute. Corona had already put the USA up 2-1 in the 57th (which probably has everything to do with Shea coming off at the half). And let’s see, who else came on in the 58th? Oh, right: Wondolowski; i.e., the guy who scored 2 goals, the first of which was @ssisted by…yep: Beckerman.

      “The Guatemala game was locked until Holden and Diskerud showed up.”

      No. The score was 1-0 when they came on at the half. The USA went up 2-0 in the 56th minute off Donovan’s penalty. (If you’re keeping score, that’s 1 goal under Beckerman/Torres and 1 goal under Holden/Diskerud.) Later, this magical thing happened in the 59th minute: Wondolowski, Shea, and Bedoya came on…and the USA scored 4 more times.

      • Do you understand the meaning of lock or impact? The goals are not the highlight of this discussion, its the movement of the ball, attacking goal, moving up field, creating chances, passing out the back. The goal Corona scored was a solo effort something out of nothing, a deflection, Donovan’s PK was exactly that a PK, before that we were unable to put anything together……Wondo is a poucher, no speed, no dribbling ability hence no midfield = no goals. Holden/Mix is a better combination than Mix/Beckerman or Beckerman/Holden

      • So your meaning of “locked” and “impact” rely entirely on a bunch of actions you don’t have any stats for? Pfft! I’m supposed to believe Beckerman isn’t good at those things based solely on your word? Put up some numbers or else go home. (You know, like how Beckerman has put up nu—oh, nevermind.)

        By the way, when you discounted Donovan’s PK (against Guatemala), you realize that was scored during the Holden/Diskerud half, right? So you’re taking a point away from your argument, weakening it even more. (And again, I point to the goal that was scored before that PK—so no matter how many times you say it, it is still untrue that prior to the PK “we were unable to put anything together.”)

        Likewise for what you say about Wondolowski: “no midfield = no goals” ergo “if Wondolowski scored, then there must have been a midfield.” Thus, by your own logic, Beckerman is a solid midfield because 5 out of 6 Wondolowski goals were scored with Beckerman on the field!

        I swear: if JK disguised Beckerman with a haircut and a different name on his jersey, you and a bunch of others would be wetting yourself with glee over the new solid midfielder who protects the back line, maintains possession, keeps the team calm on the ball, and provides excellent passes into the danger area. Same stats, but you wouldn’t have your anti-Kyle blinders on.

      • the goals are not the only “point” is creating goals opportunity, its the style of play…the more attack minded midfielder, the guy who when in the middle things happen…..what does that have to do with Donovan’s PK?….lol

      • bizzy: try repeating “I can fly” over and over and see what happens. I’m sure you will convince yourself that it is true, nevermind a total lack of evidence.

        You asked what a PK has to do with “an attack-minded midfielder,” “creating goal opportunities,” or “making things happen.” Seriously?! The answer is painfully obvious: PKs are only awarded when the ball is in the box—you know, that place where ATTACKING teams try to get the ball because it creates good GOAL OPPORTUNITIES and THINGS HAPPEN when the ball is there. All that yummy goodness happened with Beckerman on the field.

  12. His strength as a player is in a position that is very unpopular because it is so defensive. That’s why there is opposition to him. We’d rather see them play with two more forward minded central mids. He is fine doing what he does, but he is also way down the depth chart even sitting above the back line.

  13. I have remain unconvinced that Beckerman has the quickness to defend well against strong international competition. But he is disciplined, reads the game pretty well, can p@ss the ball well and unlike many past (and present) USMNT defensive mids is not prone to picking up lots of yellow cards, the occasional red card or committing a nasty foul when losing his temper. ( I’m thinking of Mastroeni, Clark, Jones and a younger Bradley)

  14. I think they are singling out Beckerman because they know they can get him to do something stupid and take a card, play themselves to a man advantage.

  15. I love how you guys forget he was in the starting team that beat MEXICO in mexico! If you ever stop and just watch his defense positioning off the ball is amazing. He cuts out passing lanes and yes allot of his passes are square but he keeps us the ball. He isn’t a big offensive weapon but when he needs to he can put in a good ball. No he isn’t going to beat any of are A team out of there spot. But when it comes to world cup i would want him there for a sub or heaven forbid we have to use him cause JJ got to many yellow cards.

  16. IVES: Beckermen, really? Stu had two good halves and was being lauded with “positive contribution, but he still has to prove it” (which is true, but for all intents and purposes just to see him moving the ball and showing explosiveness is all USMNT fans really wanted to see at this stage…plus he scored.

    Mix – Where’s the praise for him? Guy has commanded the midfield, put up some great shots from outside the box, and has brought a great attacking presence to the midfield?

    Beckermen has one game against Cuba where he doesn’t make as many backwards passes as he ususally does (versus a team that was packed in to the nth degree) and now he’s the “backbone of the USMNT Gold Cup midfield.” Sorry, I think if anything he’s still a liability moving forward. Just not a sustainable option, like Wondo, when going against better teams (even teams like Panama, Mexico, and possibly Costa Rica).

    • I think it’s entirely possible. I doubt he sees the field – he’s behind Jermaine Jones and Geoff Cameron as a holding mid, and he’s certainly not going to unseat Michael Bradley, and you KNOW if Stu Holden can even walk, he’s going to be included…but what makes it possible to carry a fifth CM is the fact that Cameron probably will be listed as a defender. Cameron isn’t just one of the USA’s top four at CM, he’s also one of top two or three as a centerback, and he can play right back to boot…means Klinsmann will undoubtedly carry 5 CM’s to Brazil and Gonzalez/Besler, Cameron, and ONE of either Goodson, Onyewu, or Orozco-Fiscal to Brazil at CB (I’d bet on Goodson, honestly.)

      That leaves Mixx, Beckerman, and [i]possibly[/i] Maurice Edu fighting it out for that last CM spot. And I would indeed bet on Beckerman, the way things are going right now. He’s a great camp guy, and has a very clearly defined role.

      Better than even money Beckerman goes to Brazil, IMHO.

      • the 23 Klinsmann puts together will be very interesting. Given the versatility of so many of your players, he can go in many different directions as to how to stack the roster. Beckerman could squeeze into one of those last 2-3 spots because Klinsmann likes him a lot but I think he is on the outside looking in unless there is an injury or 2.

      • You’re forgetting Kljestan who hasn’t seen many minutes but has been on the roster from most of the WCQs.

    • Doubtful. He’ s isn’t first choice. He isn’t second choice. Only injuries will put him in the WC squad. He is a good pool player and nothing more

    • Well, I tell you, if Timothy Chandler is not on that plane to Brazil I am gonna be one pi$$ed off dude. He has given so much during this whole WCQ cycle. Remember that game Timothy played for the USMNT in February against Honduras. Heck, he didn’t have to come over and play in that game. But he did.

  17. Have always loved me some Beckerman. If we could put Beckerman’s head and dreads in J Jones’ body we would have an unbelievable DCM.

    I think the #6 position is one that is difficult for many to appreciate. When its played well, its not necessarily flashy and usually doesn’t involve scoring. Rather its breaking up counterattacks or funneling them in an appropriate direction, its being an outlet for the back line, and yes, its playing square balls to switch the field and line of attack. And for me Beckerman does this better than anyone we have. His downside is he is not an elite athlete and therefore struggles with the pacier attackers in international competition. I think if we face Mexico it will be interesting to see how he does and may decide how much he factors in over the next year.

  18. I think Beckermans value to this team has more to do with a lack of confidence in the back central defense than his skills as a withdrawn midfielder…-and as much as I don’t think he has a complete game and don’t think he will be in Brazil-…, I can’t disagree with his spot on this particular team

  19. Cue the legions of “I don’t think Beckerman is cut out for competition at this level” commenters who offer only thoughts without statistics.

    Any argument against Beckerman that is based on the low quality of competition thus far obviously works equally well against everyone on this squad.

  20. Two consecutive coaches have seen what an @sset Beckerman is to the team. Reading some of the comments it sounds like people think the only part of soccer is p@ssing the ball forward and shooting into the net.

    Williams is about the only other player that can do what Beckerman does. Their defensive positioning is incredible. They are the quintessential single pivot DM that breaks up the opposing attacks and then spreads the ball out wide to build.

    He is our version of a Sergio Busquets.

    • P@ssing the ball forward and shooting it into the back of the net is how you win games. And don’t get me started on busquets. He actually is like beckerman because I don’t know any fellow spaniard that likes him that aren’t barca fans

      • And breaking up attacks and maintaining possession are how you get the opportunity to p@ss the ball forward and shoot it into the back of the net. Your point?

        PS. No, shooting the ball into the back of the net is *not* how you win games. Shooting it into the back of the net *more than the other team does* is how you win games.

      • so you don’t think Holden, Torres, or Mix are capable of doing that as effectively as Beckerman? because the stats say they are.

        that’s the argument people. not that Beckerman CAN’T do it, but that others CAN and are YOUNGER.

      • Holden? Clearly not as capable: he can’t play 90 minutes yet.

        Is your argument about who JK should play today or who he should play next year? ‘Cause if this is all about WC2014 then sadly Torres has had pretty much the same number of ups and downs as Beckerman on the WC squad. And there’s no reason to expect a spectacular change; i.e., there is very little overall difference between Beckerman vs Torres—at least in terms of what the fans can see. Only the players and coaches know whether or not one of them brings more to the practice field and/or locker room.

        That leaves Mix. And since Mix needs to be paired with someone today for him to be ready next year, I don’t see any good reason that someone shouldn’t be Beckerman.

      • he is capable DEFENSIVELY. i didn’t talk anything about fitness. COME ON!

        my argument is nothing more other than i want to see a CM combo WITHOUT Beckerman because the stats Holden, Torres, and Mix have put out have been JUST as good, from a defensive stand point, as Beckerman. how is that not clear?

        I don’t care about 2010. If that was the case, I would still hate a lot of players. It’s 2013 and Torres was the starting CM for Tigres, who finished in 1st before they failed in the playoffs.

        I’m not expecting a spectacular change, i never said that. you just @ssumed it. i have said over and over and over that they will be AS GOOD AS, maybe better, than Beckerman. it would be nice to see and i could be 100% wrong.

        but Torres is a deep lying mid, a regista, a #8. he’s more than used to sitting back with a CM partner and cleaning up while also creating from a deeper position.

      • Hey bryan, good game against CR, no? Was fun to see Holden go 90 minutes, even if he seemed gassed. Took some nasty tackles but kept going.

        I know this is an old conversation, but wanted to clear the air a bit. You thought I made some assumptions about you “expecting a spectacular change” from Torres. I didn’t mean for that to come across as words in your mouth. What I said is that there is “no reason” to expect it—meaning, I assume no one would expect it.

        (But as long as we’re talking about making assumptions, can I point out that you entered this conversation by saying, “so you don’t think Holden, Torres, or Mix are capable of doing that as effectively as Beckerman?” Which is obviously an assumption because I hadn’t even mentioned Holden et al!)

        I see that you think Torres could be better than Beckerman. I disagree. Torres is who he is: a very good midfielder…against CONCACAF competition. Which is pretty much how I rate Beckerman as well. They have very different strengths and weaknesses, but overall they are the same level. Out of these four, the future of the USMNT really seems to be Mix and Holden.

        You wrote: “my argument is nothing more other than i want to see a CM combo WITHOUT Beckerman because the stats Holden, Torres, and Mix have put out have been JUST as good, from a defensive stand point, as Beckerman. how is that not clear?”

        I think you’ve been perfectly clear. And even-minded and you write a good analysis. The point I was trying to make in response was that I don’t see a compelling reason to see a Beckerman-free CM combo. I tried to cite my reasons:

        a) Beckerman is as good as the others (we essentially agree on this) so he’s not “hurting” anything.

        b) Torres will never be on the WC squad. We disagree on this, but at least we can understand each other’s point. (But if he is on that squad, it seems increasingly likely JK will only play him as a winger.)

        c) Holden is not ready to play a full 90 min (which, thankfully, I was shown to be incorrect).

        d) Mix needs to be paired with someone, so based on a-c above, it might as well be Beckerman. Yeah, I’d love to see Holden get more playing time (i.e., I’d prefer to see Mix/Holden over Mix/Beckerman), but Holden is still gaining fitness. I would be shocked if Holden plays 90 min in the next game.

      • Yeah man, that game had me nervous! but wow, what an ending. good for Shea.

        Anyway, thanks for clearing that up. Even though we don’t expect a spectacular change, I think it’s fine to think you can expect more from him going forward while not losing too much defensively. But point taken and I see what you are saying.

        (i just asked you a question, there was no @ssumption. and you answered it with “Clearly not as capable: he can’t play 90 minutes yet.”)

        Ok, I see what you are saying and respect your opinion. I still think it’s wrong to reject the notion that Torres, at 25 years old and getting better every year, cannot become better than Beckerman, at 31 years old who is on the tail end of his career, given they are, by both our accounts, essentially on the same level at this moment. I think Beckerman is a good player, so it’s great to say Torres is on Beckerman’s level now while being six years younger. And at his age, I think Torres will continue to get even better. That’s why I guess I make a stink about using him over Beckerman.

        ” The point I was trying to make in response was that I don’t see a compelling reason to see a Beckerman-free CM combo.”

        I did see each of those points, for sure. The only point I spoke up on was not caring about 2010 Torres. My apologies!

        a. Agreed, and that is essentially my argument with putting in Torres and leaving Beckerman out. I guess the difference is I think Torres offers a little more on offense while matching defense; has a bigger up side too.

        b. Agree with you. And after the CR game, I’m fine with him staying at LM. for the gold cup, i now want:

        Torres, Mix, Holden, Corona

        c. Yeah, surprised me too. I wanted Holden to start, but I didn’t think he would ever play 90.

        d. After the CR game, I will agree Mix needs to be in the middle. Before the CR game, I would still have said Torres/Holden over getting Mix in there. I do agree that Mix is best suited to be paired with Beckerman, but if Mix has to start, then I say Holden does too. Because that combo is still looking good. I don’t think Holden goes 90, but starting him is fine. Especially given the amount of rest between now and the ES game. Easy travel from CT to MD too.

        enjoyed the talk. thanks for responding despite not getting a chance to earlier!

      • Bryan, Holden and Torres are attacking players. I get how fans want to put out only offensive players. But, USMNT needs a true destroyer #6, CDM that can win balls. Torres is not a good defender and has nowhere near the positioning sense that Beckerman does. You really have to be a coach or have a good understanding of the game to appreciate a player like Beckerman, but he is essential to a good possession oriented team.

        If you want to play direct soccer like Bradley did, then that position is less critical because you don’t value winning the ball back and maintaining possession.

        A player like Beckerman or Diskerud allow offensive players like Holden, Torres, Corona, Bradley, Davis or Zusi to play attacking soccer and be that creative force. Just like Morales at RSL plays in front of Beckerman and is made better by having a ball winner behind him.

        The only guys in the USMNT camp that are capable of being true #6 players are Jones, Edu, Beckerman and Diskerud. Jones is the preferred option but for me is terrible with possession and passing. Edu is the same. Beckerman is way more skilled on the ball than anyone gives him credit for. He actually has phenomenal feet, but I am an RSL fan and get to see him play a lot.

      • 1. Holden and Torres are #8s, they are deep lying mids. To call them “attacking players” cheapens what they bring to the table. Holden had more recoveries than Beckerman against Cuba, for example.
        2. No, we do NOT need a pure #6. Have you seen our A team? We play with two #8s. To the dismay of a lot of USA fans.
        3. I DO appreciate Beckerman, so get off your high horse. Saying I think a different combo could yield the same results is NOT saying I dislike Beckerman. Stop drawing conclusions from nothing.
        4. Dix isn’t a #6, so to compare him to Beckerman and contract him to Holden/Torres is beyond ridiculous…
        5. You forgot Cameron, Williams, and Bradley and once against mistakenly labeled Mix a #6. Further, why are we talking about them?

    • Beckerman as the impoverished man’s Sergio Bushiest?

      Biscuits take positioning and passing into the realm of breath-taking high art.

    • +1

      This is the exact role he plays expertly for RSL. They play a methodical, possession-based style, and it’s worked really well for years now (especially so this year). He is the engine that makes that team run, but he is not responsible for making those incisive passes. Javier Morales fills that role on the team. For the Nats, he looks very comfortable playing that role when he has a real CAM in front of him, such as Stu and Mix in this tourney.

  21. I think the (vocal) fan reaction about Beckerman is overall too negative. I think he’s looked pretty good consistently, but he’s not exciting.

    That being said, I don’t think Coach Pinto knew who Beckerman was when he gave that answer. “We need to be aware of him and mark him” sounds like the answer a casual fan would give on a talk show when asked about an imaginary player.

    • You’re right. i think Pinto’s got him confused with “Beckham”.

      different players.

      different hair.

      different bank accounts.

    • Having a tight mark on Beckerman could prove to be a great coaching move actually. He is clearly not the most technical of players and finds the ball at his feet quite often. Tight marking and quick closing down could lead to turnovers/ wayward passes to set up counters.

    • I am sure the CR coach has no idea who Beckerman is as his starting forward and Beckerman play for the same club and national coaches are never caught watching club soccer. You comments are just as stupid as Beckerman’s hair.

      • Yeah, he definitely mentions him specifically in his comments, along with Donovan, Corona, and Diskerud (according to

  22. Really Dan? He has played against Belize and Cuba. He got subbed off against Belize when he couldn’t help the US unlock a packed final third, and it wasn’t until Klinsi got on his back at half time to move up the pitch against Cuba that he was more useful. The only credit I will give him is some service to Wondo. Torres could (and should) have been deployed in the same role, and we would have had better ball movement and tactical awareness.

    • Yeeaaaaa, except for that wonderful assist on Wondo’s second goal against Belize, and of course his (again) wonderful assist on Wondo’s first goal against Cuba. Beckerman had no problem “unlocking” the defense, but people HAVE to realize that that sort of thing is NOT his job. His job, albeit relatively meaningless against teams like Belize and Cuba, is to boss the defensive midfield and destroy any sort of counter attacks. He did those things well when needed, though rarely needed.

      • i think everyone understands that. the point is any of our CMs are capable of doing that. and as such, using someone younger and someone who has a shot with the A team, should be starting instead of Beckerman.

      • IMO, Diskerud is the only other player capable of doing what Beckerman does. That is the combination of ball winning and passing. Forget the stats, just go back and watch how many of the USMNT chances against Cuba were created or started by Beckerman winning the ball back.

        The answer is almost every single one. He was everywhere. That is where he is most useful. What separates him from other destroyers like Edu or Jones, is that he can also pass. Beckerman is not as athletic as those guys to make dynamic runs forward, but he is a better #6.

      • 1. Mix isn’t a #6 which is why Holden came off and Mix was left to be our #8/#10
        2. Maybe you need to look at the stats because Holden had more recoveries than anyone and only played 58 minutes. Beckerman only had 3.
        3. Torres and Holden are more than capable, looking at the data from Chalkboard on the last three games, of being just as effective there. Obviously i don’t know that for sure, but i would like to see it
        4. Further, why are you talking about Edu/Jones? They’re both better than Beckerman. Jones, Bradley, Edu, Cameron, and Williams are all above Beckerman in the #6.
        5. Beckerman did a much better job against Cuba than Belize, no doubt. Much more involved and you can tell by his p@ssing heatmap he was more creative.
        6. I know he’ll start anyway and if doesn’t, it’ll likely be Mix/Holden and not Torres/Holden.

        Once again, Beckerman has absolutely played well. I am not denying that. People are saying that based on what we have seen, a midfield combo without Beckerman can get the job done too. And that it would be nice to see it because we all know Beckerman won’t be a part of WCQs or the WC unless there are a lot of injuries or a lack of playing time.

  23. To be honest he’s done well in the Belize and Cuba games but its not like this is his first chance and he’s never been all that good for the first team but I think he deserves to see minutes if not starting minutes for the rest of the tournament.

  24. Honestly, I feel that the US moves the ball really slowly when he is in the game. Defenders should just stand to the side, he’s going to play the ball square every time anyway…

    • This x1000. In the game in Portland he always pushed the ball to the right of the pitch of backwards. He had the assist by some mistake but 97% of his touches slowed the game play down. I’ll take Holden over him every day and twice on Sunday.

      • In the Belize game in Portland, Beckerman was 51 of 55 passing, and 37 of those were played up the field, not back. So…sorry. You’re just wrong.

      • it was 49/53 and i’m looking at his p@ssing heatmap right now and i think you are exaggerating with 37.

        link to

        there is a very clear analysis to be made from this. aside from when he pushed up the right, he hardly had any forward p@sses. when i say forward, i mean obvious forward p@sses. most of his p@sses are side-to-side. maybe they are slightly forward or slightly backward, but the clear direction of the p@ss is to the side.

        so while the guy you responded to was wrong, you are wrong to say 37 p@sses were forward. also, i don’t have a problem with those types of p@sses so long as the speed at which they are made is high. and sometimes, that just isn’t the case.

    • That’s my main issue with his game also. If he could have learned to make positive passes more often than say 1 in 10 than he would be so much better.

      he should be called Kyle Backpasserman.

    • This criticism has come up in every single thread about Beckerman. It’s almost like nobody considers the possibility that Beckerman is doing exactly what the coach wants him to do. I know it’s a novel idea in a team sport. Consider the quote from Klinsmann in this very article, “He cleans up so many balls, he’s playing simple, he keeps things moving, and he’s always there for his back line.” Do you really think that Beckerman doesn’t want to play killer balls every chance he gets? I was at the game on Saturday and I don’t think you really get a feel on TV for how incredibly constricted the space is when the other team has all eleven guys behind the ball. I don’t remember seeing a single time where I thought Beckerman could play a penetrating ball and instead chose to play it simple.

      • that’s not the argument entirely. the argument is that there are other players who could do it as good as, if not better than, Beckerman. because Holden, Torres, and Mix are all more than capable (supposedly) in this Gold Cup with less than full strength teams. that’s the argument.

      • If that is truly the case, then the criticism should be of Klinsmann, not Beckerman. I personally don’t believe that those players are better at what Klinsmann wants from that position or else they would be playing there. I love Holden and Mix and believe they both definitely have qualities that Beckerman doesn’t have, but they are not better at this point at what Klinsmann wants from that position.

      • the stats from the last 3 games show that without Beckerman, our players are more than capable of getting the job done. does that mean it’s 100% certain they will against a team like CR? no. but it’s not certain Beckerman will do well either.

        and yes, you could put some blame on JK for using a #6 instead of the way the A team plays (two #8s, despite our best intentions to make Jones a #6 for the USA).

        i think two pure #8s like Holden and Torres would be more than capable. i really don’t see how that is so surprising. Holden and Torres are solid and i would argue are better players. and again, i know Beckerman is better at the #6. i’m not saying otherwise. i’m saying we don’t need a dedicated #6 at the moment.

    • So you guys really prefer the Jones style of playing CDM to that of Beckerman. Jones has the worst vision on the planet and only plays hopeful long balls. The USMNT is guaranteed to lose the possession battle when Jones of Edu play the #6 spot. Beckerman plays a lot of simple passes to keep the ball moving fast because that is the philosophy of soccer that RSL plays. Coincidentally, that is the style that many of the elite nations and clubs of the world play.

      People have been hard on Spain and Barcelona recently for the same kind of stuff. Claiming that they just pass it around too much without pressing the action. It is ridiculous and this type of criticism just shows a lack of understanding of the game of soccer.

      Also, that is why Beckerman did not fit into the Bradley team because that regime had no scheme of passing at all. They did not value possession and simple passing. They just wanted dynamic runs and long balls, a very direct style. Beckerman does not fit that style at all. Beckerman is a ball winner and constant distributor.

  25. just be glad the past 2 coaches have been Bob and klinsi, cause if Mr. Burns had put this team together he wouldn’t be allowed on the field.
    I thought I told you to trim those sideburns

    • headline seems like its designed to fan the flames. article is fine but notion that he’s “blossoming in role as backbone” of the team after one solid outing against cuba, is a dramatic overstatement.

      and all the stuff about this being such a “high level” of play and proving you can play at the “highest levels”, is just not connected to reality when you are talking about games with guatamala, belize and cuba. mls teams clearly offer stiffer competition than what we’ve faced so far.

      • That’s funny since he’s widely and unequivocally regarded as the best DM in MLS and is an MVP candidate from the best team in the league.

        You sort of contradicted yourself right there.

      • Actually, Alonso from Seattle is usually considered the best at this position, and there are others in the conversation too. Anyway, Beckerman is not unequivocally considered the best DM in MLS as you claim, but he’s one of them

        and I’m not ripping on Beckerman, I like him and he’s played well. He had this same role for the Gold Cup team in 2009, didn’t he? Looked good right up until the final game but then not so good in the final

      • There’s definitely some debate about this. Ozzie is a great player, no doubt. But I’d say Beckerman has been more consistent in MLS play. For what it’s worth, and sometimes it’s not much, Beckerman is the DM on the MLS All Star roster this year (along with Bernier).

      • yep, certainly up for debate, which is my point. It’s not unequivocal

        Alonso has been injured and slowed this year, quad injury I think

      • It is this season…Ozzie’s a great player, but he hasn’t been healthy enough this season to be in the running for Best DM in MLS right now.

      • Ozzie’s back now, and even so Beckerman is not unequivocally the best, and I know what season we’re in 🙂

  26. What? The opposing team’s coach picked Beckerman as a player they needed to be wary of? Obviously the Costa Rican coach isn’t in tune with USMNT fans. We don’t need a calming presence in midfield who knows his role and plays it, giving everything for the team. We need the next big thing.

  27. I am not quite as sold on Beckerman, lets see what happens when they face some actual competition. He is decent player for the B team outfit, but I think he is a huge step down from the A-team.

    Subs on a World Cup roster need to be multidimensional and be helpful at several positions in different ways. I still see him as too much of a one trick pony to include him on the big boy roster next summer.

    • I happen to agree with you 100%. Beckerman is a CDM only and is well behind the “A” Team level. Jones & Bradley are miles ahead of him. Cameron, Edu & Williams are players who can fill in at multiple positions. Holden & Mixx are more attack minded, box-to-box types, so fill a different role (they are also able to play multiple positions).
      For these reasons + his age I don’t see him playing much of a role with the team after Camp Cup Cake in January.

      • Yeah. A “CDM only” who happened to have an absolutely beautiful a$$ist in each of the last two games in a major tournament. Can someone please tell me when the last time was that Michael Bradley had an a$$ist two games in a row in a tournament, WCQs or even friendlies? Beckerman is playing great this tournament. Look at his stats.

        I wonder if people would quit hating Beckerman and give him the credit for playing well that he deserves if he shaved his head 🙂 I really would love to see Beckerman walking on the field tonight bald-headed. I bet his approval rating would jump about 40 points.

      • I sure hope you’re kidding. Donovan would have 10+ assists if people knew how to finish. I wouldn’t call 2 assists in 2 games mind-blowing against this level of competition. Becks also passed the ball a few times into the breadbasket of the opposition – with no pressure on him!

    • this. the (reasonable) criticism of beckerman is that he’s not good enough for the first team, and, at his age, he won’t ever be good enough. are people really surprised that he’s showing well against belize and cuba (or even honduras and panama)?

      the reason i don’t blame people for disliking him on this gold cup roster is that maybe we should be using this tournament as a last-ditch chance to see if any of our younger players (diskerud, holden?) really blow klinsmann away. i don’t necessarily agree with them, because i think it’s important to have a couple of ‘tried-and-true’ veterans (beckerman, rimando) to steady the new blood.


Leave a Comment