Beasley, Edu struggle for playing time for Glasgow Rangers.
By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
and Chris Courtney (in Naples, Italy)
(Tuesday, January 20, 2009) -- One of the major unanswered questions regarding Americans playing in Europe is why midfielders DaMarcus Beasley and Maurice Edu have seen so little action with Glasgow Rangers this season.
From recent statements by club officials, Beasley's future in Glasgow might be considered an open question, while Edu's place seems secure.
Beasley has had some trouble coming back from injury this season and when he did, he was inconsistent at best. His biggest problem seems to be one of size. In the rough-and-tumble Scottish Premier League, the slight 5-foot-9 midfielder is often muscled off the ball and has gotten the reputation of simply being too small to compete.
There was talk about his looking for another team during the January transfer window, perhaps returning to United States and Major League Soccer. He has said he wants to stick it out and to compete for more first-team minutes. This past weekend, he scored a goal and went the distance in a 4-0 victory over Airdrie United of the Scottish First Division in a training match.
"I haven't been told directly that I can leave, but from what I read, I realize the club will look at things if someone comes in for me," he recently told the Rangers' web site. "I love being here. I love the club and I'm hopeful I can get back in and play my part in the team."
"(The U.S. has) World Cup qualifiers coming up and the Confederations Cup in South Africa this summer. I want to be involved in all of that. I know for that to happen I need to be playing football, so hopefully over the next couple of weeks things can improve for me."
Edu's situation is different. He was developing slowly, having made only two first-team appearances before suffering an ankle injury and missing the last month of training. He is now getting back to fitness and went 68 minutes against Airdrie.
"You can argue that we've been a little bit unfair to Maurice," Rangers assistant coach Ally McCoist told the club's web site on Sunday. "I've been looking at some of the team selections and, I can't speak for the manager, but maybe there have been occasions when we could have and should have used Mo.
"I like Maurice. He's got just a wee, niggling ankle injury that kept him out the last couple of weeks and will do for the next week or 10 days, but I'm looking forward to getting him in the team. No element of regret there. You could make a case that it's our fault for not giving him the chance. He'll play for Rangers for years to come."
"Every footballer wants to play," Edu told the web site. "That's your job. It's what you want to do and when you're not playing, you can let it get you down or use it as motivation. I'm doing the latter and recently I've been getting a lot of encouragement from the coaches. They really make me want to get out there and play my part.
"Being out with my injury was the most frustrating thing and I didn't like sitting and watching the team while knowing I couldn't do anything to help. But now that I'm fit and healthy again, my focus is just on getting into the side and getting out there on the pitch.
Howard's one save is a beauty
Yesterday, U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard and Everton kept their six-match unbeaten streak (4-0-2) going thanks to a late goal in a 1-1 draw at Liverpool. Howard made a terrific stop on a hard shot from Steven Gerrard, his only save of the match.
U.S. keeper Brad Friedel also had a strong match in Aston Villa's 2-1 victory Saturday at Sunderland. He had four saves, including two on bullets from Dean Whitehead.
U.S. attacker Clint Dempsey played 90 minutes in Fulham's 3-1 loss at West Ham United. American defender Jonathan Spector did not dress for West Ham.
In the English League Championship, Reading suffered a 2-0 setback at Swansea. American keeper Marcus Hahnemann, who continues to be out of the Reading lineup with a calf injury that has now sidelined him for a month, has returned to what the club calls "light training."
American midfielder Bobby Convey once again did not dress for Reading.
American defender Jay DeMerit returned from an injury and went the distance in Watford's 2-0 loss to Sheffield United. American defender Frank Simek continues to rehab a serious hamstring injury suffered December 9 and was not dressed for Sheffield Wednesday's 4-1 triumph over Charlton Athletic. Eddie Johnson came on for the final seven minutes for Cardiff City in a 1-1 draw at Birmingham City.
Donovan scores in Bayern Munich exhibition win
U.S. attacker Landon Donovan scored a goal in two friendly appearances for Bayern Munich of the German Bundesliga. He played the second half for the club's 3-0 triumph over third-tier Eintracht Bamberg on a snow-covered field.
Donovan came on as one of five Bayern subs in the second half, paired up front with Luca Toni. Donovan helped to set up a 50th-minute chance which Toni could not convert and the two combined well on the sloppy field throughout the closing 45 minutes.
"Above all, it was a big adjustment for Landon Donovan and Luca Toni to play on the snow," Bayern coach Jürgen Klinsmann told the German media.
This past weekend, the snow was gone and Donovan's second-half header accounted for a goal in a 2-0 shutout of Kaiserslautern in the 2. Bundelsliga.
In the 75th minute, Donovan ran diagonally across the penalty area and sharply redirected a long cross into the top corner of the net from 10 yards out.
In Belgium, U.S. defender Oguchi Onyewu was charged with an own goal in Standard de Liège's 3-2 win over Dender.
In France, U.S. defender Carlos Bocanegra went 90 minutes on the back-line for Rennes, which dropped a 1-0 decision at Lille.
American midfielder Freddy Adu did not dress for Monaco's 2-2 draw with Caen.
U.S. striker Jozy Altidore did not dress for Villareal's 2-0 victory over Mallorca in Spain.
Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent. Chris Courtney writes the blog Letters From Vagabondia.
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