The penalty was placed beyond the goalkeeper’s desperate dive with the left-footed precision that would become a hallmark of Brad Davis’s career.
Now, ten years after he made his U.S. debut in the CONCACAF Gold Cup and made a decisive contribution in the final, Davis will suit up for his country in the competition again after being named to Jurgen Klinsmann’s roster.
Back on July 7, 2005, before the Dynamo were born, the then-San Jose Earthquakes midfielder started in a 4-1 win over Cuba. And he took the very last kick of the tournament, sending the ball low into the corner to give the U.S. victory over Panama in a shootout in the final in Giants Stadium.
Then a youngster, now a veteran, Davis’ left foot is as accurate as ever and the Dynamo captain would love to help guide the U.S. to glory again next month. “I definitely remember that — it was one of the highlights of my career, first real big opportunity with the first team and to go there and step up in that situation and close up a tournament like that, without doubt a special moment,” the 33-year-old told reporters at Houston Sports Park on Tuesday.
“Definitely something I remember and hopefully it can be something that we reiterate — maybe not going to penalties, but winning this tournament again.”
Davis collected the most recent of his 17 caps in last year’s World Cup group stage game against Germany and is thrilled to return to the fold as the U.S. looks to defend their Gold Cup title. Klinsmann’s side is in Group A and faces Honduras in Frisco on July 7, then Haiti and Panama. The final is in Philadelphia on July 25. Davis will join up with the rest of the 23-man roster on Monday.
“I am excited to get back to the U.S. team,” the six-time MLS all-star said. “I think I bring some pretty valuable experience with a lot of the young faces that he’s brought in … This is a fun tournament, here in the U.S., so it’s a great opportunity for the U.S. to continue the good streak that we’ve been on here.”
The team is coming off impressive friendly victories over the Netherlands and Germany in Europe. “Our job is to continue that progression and help as much as we can with U.S. soccer. It’s obviously growing, the team’s gotten better and better and making a bigger impact,” Davis said.
Dynamo head coach Owen Coyle spoke to Klinsmann over the weekend about Davis and the possibility that defender DaMarcus Beasley could be called into the squad later in the tournament and understands why the former Germany star would want their veteran presence. Ten of the roster have never played in the Gold Cup.
“They’re both naturally left sided, wonderfully technical players, great attitude, great desire, all the qualities you could want in players at your club,” Coyle told reporters.
“DaMarcus has had a wonderful career, he’s an outstanding player, he’s still performing at a very high level, he’s been outstanding for us. Brad’s been the same when he’s played. He’s been a bit stop-start as of late with injuries and that’s why it’s important he gets back to full health, because only when you’re at full health can you then go and show your qualities, first and foremost for Houston Dynamo,” the former English Premier League manager said.
“Being over here now I want America to win the Gold Cup, absolutely, we have players there, you’re invested in it, and you want the national team to do well — but first and foremost you have to make sure they’re ready to do well for Houston Dynamo.”
Davis missed last Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to the Portland Timbers with a knee bone bruise and is a doubt for Friday night’s Texas derby clash on the road to FC Dallas (8 p.m. CT, UniMás). So far this season he has a team-leading four assists in 13 MLS starts and is eager to be available as the Dynamo look to avenge last month’s home loss to their state rivals.
“What they did to us last game we still have a bad taste in our mouth, especially here at home, so now we have another opportunity,” he said.
“Coming off a loss against Portland, back on the road, we’ve got to show that we’re a team that can win on the road and this one obviously the rivalry with Dallas and the fans and all that stuff it’s an extremely important game for us to win for our fans.”