By FRANCO PANIZO
BOSTON — Alejandro Bedoya has started this World Cup cycle at a new position for the U.S., and it is one that he feels suits him just fine.
After being predominantly used as a wide player for much of his initial years with the U.S., Bedoya was used atop an inverted triangle in the midfield against the Czech Republic in a friendly last month. Bedoya, 27 showed flashes playing next to Mix Diskerud, and scored the winner on a rebound in the second half of that 1-0 road win.
With midfield aces Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones still with their clubs, both Bedoya and Diskerud are candidates to start again on Friday against Ecuador. The FC Nantes midfielder is hoping for another chance to play centrally, especially because things are so natural for him there.
“It’s a position where I feel most comfortable,” said Bedoya. “Where it gives me a chance to roam around a bit and find the spaces in between the lines, in between the defenses and midfield, as well as starting inside and coming out wide to get the ball instead of being out wide and coming inside. It’s different, but it’s a position that I like.”
Bedoya’s comfort in the role should come as no surprise. While he has spent the majority of his 33 caps with the U.S. dating back to 2010 in wide areas, he has regularly seen time in central positions at the club level. The veteran broke onto the scene as a professional at Swedish side Orebro SK before the 2010 World Cup, and did so by playing mostly in the middle.
His versatility and selflessness have since seen him play at a number of positions for club and country (even at right back for Nantes last season), and continue to make him a valuable asset for whichever team he is on.
“I can tell you the last few weeks what position have I not played for Nantes in the midfield,” said Bedoya with a chuckle. “In the beginning of the season, I was playing behind the striker, then I played out wide right, wide left, and then we also played a 4-3-3 in a game where I played in the same position that I played in against the Czechs.”
Bedoya is well aware that there was plenty to fine-tune after that triumph in Prague, but he was also encouraged by a lot of what he saw and is crossing his fingers for another shot there.
“I hope we can build on that,” said Bedoya of his partnership with Diskerud. “It was our first game playing together. We played together in the Gold Cup (in different positions), but I think you could see some positive things from that performance in terms of some interchanges that we had, our movement off the ball, and definitely saw some good things.
“I think we’re both offensive-minded-first players, and at times you could see that maybe because of our off-the-ball movement and interchanges that maybe we weren’t defensively at our best in certain scenarios. But I think there’s a lot of good things to take from that game.”
Like Bedoya in a central role or think he belongs out wide? Think he makes for a good tandem with Diskerud at the top of an inverted triangle midfield? Where would you deploy Bedoya on Friday?
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