Tonight’s Copa America semifinal pitting the United States against Argentina is a big one.
That’s the case not just because of the magnitude of the opponent — although nobody would dispute that Argentina’s a big one for us, and they do have that Messi guy — but because we might get to see Kyle Beckerman in his best role.
That’s right. Jermaine Jones and Alejandro Bedoya are both suspended for the match, leaving a gaping maw in the midfield, and it is our captain should be the one to fill it.
Enter: Kyle Beckerman
It’s easy to rationalize why Beckerman hasn’t played every minute of every match in Copa America, but there’s a not-small part of me that’s pining for his arrival every time the team kicks off. His stability in the midfield combines with an excellent mind for the game to produce a player that can push the U.S. midfield in the game.
That doesn’t mean, of course, that Beckerman can win this one on his own, or that he should be held to such standards. But we should expect him to exert his influence over this match in the typical ways — breaking up passing lanes, winning balls in the midfield, and whatnot.
Of course, maybe we’ll see Geoff Cameron start instead — he is, after all, taller. (No, we’re not still bitter about the 2014 World Cup. Of course not.)
Regardless, don’t let the Beckerman-haters get you down. They’ll say he’s slow, but no amount of speed can make a player read the game well (and he’s not that slow, whiners). They’ll say he’s lost a step since the World Cup, but we, who see him week-in, week-out, know that’s a tired narrative that was trotted out before the World Cup, and he did extremely well on that stage. We know Kyle Beckerman better than they do, and that should give us room for hope.
How to Watch
Match time: 7 p.m. Mountain, 9 p.m. Eastern
TV: Fox Sports 1, Univision, and Univision Deportes
Streaming: Fox Sports Go (w/ cable), Univision Deportes (w/cable), Fox Soccer 2 Go (paid, standalone)