Back with US at last, Davis hopes it's better late than never
CARSON, Calif. – Brad Davis debuted for the US national team nearly eight years ago, played a couple of games in the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup, picked up January caps in 2008 and 2010 and last stepped on the field in an American jersey in a victory over El Salvador in February 2010.
It hasn't been the international career the 31-year-old midfielder had hoped for, but he hopes Tuesday's friendly against Canada on his home field – Houston's BBVA Compass Stadium (8 pm CT, ESPN2, Sportsnet in Canada) – can provide a real entrance to the US roster.
Davis is that rare player who has gotten substantially better with age, and he appears to be at his peak after the past few seasons with the Houston Dynamo, who have prospered behind his creativity and that gorgeous left leg. He's in his first call-up since Jurgen Klinsmann took charge of the national team and could provide midfield depth for the important games ahead.
“I just look at it honestly as an opportunity,” said Davis, who has just five caps, the first two under Bruce Arena. “I've really tried to push myself the past four or five years to get better and make this next step. Now it's my job to go out and make the most of it.”
Klinsmann says he's a fan, that Davis “was already part of this group,” and it is likely he would have gotten the call a year ago if not for the quadriceps injury that knocked him out of the 2011 MLS Cup final.
“He is excellent technically,” Klinsmann said. “His vision on the field is really special. And then he can hit set pieces really well, so he had weapons others don't have. As a coach, you try to put your puzzle together and kind of supplement it everywhere in every position, so we're happy to have him now in this group, and he's very, very hungry to show his strengths.”
Davis has hit double figures for assists in the past four seasons for the Dynamo, with 16 in 2011, when he was a finalist for the league MVP award. He wasn't sure if he'd ever get a chance to play for the national team again.
“To be honest, I didn't know,” Davis said. “I kind of worried about that maybe a year ago. The longer it didn't come, I just tried to put it on the back-burner a little bit and just focus on my club team, not worry about if the call is going to come, when the call is going to come, why I wasn't getting called in.
“If I took care of my business with my club, we had success, then maybe the shot would come. But I didn't want to sit there and worry any more about whether it was going to come. I just [wanted] to go do what I could do and do my best at it.”
Davis has been a driving force behind Houston's run to the title game the past two years, and he figures that “finally getting this opportunity shows that the work's been paying off a little bit.”
“They saw something that maybe I could bring to the table,” he said, “and that's why I'm here, to hopefully not disappoint them.”