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Canales Daily: DaMarcus Beasley A Willing Experiment

By Andrea Canales

It's never viewed as an ideal solution - to remove a player from the place and role on the field that has been played for years.

Yet out of frustration and necessity at times coaches are willing to do just that.

Though it may have surprised some people when Bob Bradley, facing a goal deficit versus El Salvador in World Cup qualifying, moved winger DaMarcus Beasley to the left back position, Bradley wasn't the first to try that.

It was the coach who succeeded Bradley at the Chicago Fire after Bradley moved on to New York, Dave Sarachan.

Now an assistant with the Los Angeles Galaxy, Sarachan explained in an exclusive interview with the situation that led to the midfielder spending time at that defensive position.

"Beasley first of all is a soccer player," Sarachan explained. "He's a guy who can figure things out on the field. He's not really pigeon-holed into one spot. Also, even as an attacking left-sided guy, he always had good defensive instincts and was willing to do the work that's required as a defender on the left."

Part of the reason why Bradley has considered the option that Sarachan once did is because other fulltime defenders have struggled there of late. Heath Pearce had a poor match in El Salvador, and Jonathan Bornstein wasn't even called in for the trip to Central America. Both players are now with the team preparing for Costa Rica, perhaps the most difficult opponent the U.S. will face in this final round of qualifying for the World Cup.

Though Bornstein and Pearce will have a chance to redeem themselves, Beasley remains a possibility for Bradley.

Sarachan pointed out that the versatility a player provides can be crucial.

"In certain situations, when you need a guy to drop back in a game and be a left-sided defender, he had the pace, he had the instincts, he had the ability to get forward," Sarachan said. "He lacked a little bit of experience, but he made it up for it by sorting things out quickly and making good decisions."

What may be working against Beasley at this point, though, is how little regular playing time he has logged recently for his club, Rangers. A trade seems likely, perhaps back to Major League Soccer.

"He should be playing, whether it's in our league or another league," said Sarachan  "He's still talented enough and young enough that he's got to be getting minutes, whether it's here or somewhere else."

Though Beasley has shown an aptitude for a defensive role, he hasn't been so amazingly adept that a career change was triggered. Such was the case of West Ham's Jonathan Spector, who was a U.S. youth national team forward until a fateful game where he played defender and did so well that he has remained in that role since.

Sarachan wasn't sure if Beasley expressed any resentment at being asked to switch on various occasions while playing for the Fire.

"It was a long time ago; I don't remember his emotions," Sarachan said. "If he had a choice, I think he would rather be an attacking midfielder and going forward, but he was willing to do what we needed."

With a crucial slate of qualifying games ahead, Beasley may play an important role again for the U.S., wherever he ends up on the field.

Andrea Canales is the Chief Editor of North America is following the U.S. National Team in qualifying action!