When the Houston Dynamo return to the field for their match against the Chicago Fire this Saturday, it will provide the chance for Dynamo defender DaMarcus Beasley to bookend his MLS career.
Beasley made 132 appearances across all competitions for the Fire from 2000 to 2004, scoring 18 goals during his time as the Fire claimed the 2000 and 2003 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles, as well as the 2003 Supporters Shield. Beasley was also named to the MLS Best XI in 2003 and was a 3-time All Star from 2001 to 2003.
Despite the memories, Beasley and the Dynamo still see Saturday as a crucial opportunity to gain points against an Eastern Conference opponent.
“We need to win,” Beasley said about the upcoming match. “We’re right at the bottom half of the playoff line. We’ve been up-and-down pretty much since we started our long road trip 2 months ago, so we’re looking to have a little bit of stability and try to get back on track to how we started at the beginning of the season.”
“Teams know how to play against us, and we’ve got to figure out how to break them down, especially when we’re playing at home. The ultimate goal is to get three points and keep climbing up the table.”
After beginning his career with the LA Galaxy in 1999 without receiving playing time, Beasley was traded to Chicago prior to the 2000 season. The Fire, led at the time by current Los Angeles FC head coach Bob Bradley, were coming off a season in which they failed to defend their MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup titles, and saw Beasley as a crucial piece to help shore up the team’s defense.
“Being a 17-year-old kid when I got to Chicago, I was very fortunate,” Beasley said of his move. “We had eight [U.S.] National Team guys, great European pros from Hristo Stoichkov to Piotr Nowak and Frankie Klopas. From the U.S. team, from C.J. Brown, Chris Armas, Ante Razov, Josh Wolff, Jesse Marsch, Zach Thornton, Diego Gutiérrez, Dema Kovalenko, Carlos Bocanegra. We had an unbelievable team coached by Bob, Dave Sarachan, Denis Hamlett.”
“We had some good memories. All those guys inspired me, every single one of them. I still use some of the things they taught me to this day. For me, being in that tough environment is contagious. Once you have that in your system at a young age, you never lose that.”
Following the May 20th announcement of his retirement at the end of the season, Beasley saw this season as his last chance to make an impact. In the team’s Leagues Cup match against Club América on July 24, with the Dynamo down a goal in the 85th minute, defender Kevin Garcia sent a midfield pass to Beasley on the left flank. Beasley took the opportunity on himself, racing into the box and firing a shot past América goalkeeper Agustín Marchesín to equalize the match and eventually force penalty kicks.
To make the goal even sweeter for Beasley, his family was in attendance at BBVA Stadium to see it.
“My family has seen a million games,” Beasley said. “They don’t need to come as much, but the one time they do come, I got a chance to score. It was great to see them in the crowd happy, jumping up and down. It’s still a joy for me to have them in the stands. It never gets old.”
“They’ve been everywhere with me; every country I played in, every single World Cup game, league games in different countries. They’ve been there every step of the way. To have them there again and to perform and get a goal was special.”
“Some things you don’t forget, and now, with this being my last season, I’m sure it will be a goal I won’t forget.”
Even with everything happening this season, the team is still ready for the challenge that awaits Saturday.
“Our attitude is worry about what we control, worry about our games, and go from there,” Beasley said about the weekend ahead.