On The Mend: U.S. defenders Johnson, Beasley back in action; Jones close to return

IMAGE, MLSSOCCER.COM

The U.S. Men’s National Team received good news this weekend as fullbacks Fabian Johnson and DaMarcus Beasley returned to club action while midfielder Jermaine Jones looks poised to do the same.

Johnson, who found himself on the bench for Hoffenheim in their past two fixtures with a broken right hand, made his return in a 4-1 dismantling of Stuttgart. Surprisingly, the natural left back featured 90 minutes as a right back. Playing different positions is nothing new to the 26-year-old defender; he has featured from top to bottom on the left hand side for the National team while also playing right back and right wing for Hoffenheim this season.

While the U.S. remains very thin at the right back spot, Johnson will continue to be viewed as a possible first choice left back for the National Team. His versatility, however, make him an invaluable commodity for U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

Meanwhile, fellow all-purpose player DaMarcus Beasley also returned to action in a 1-0 Puebla loss to Cruz Azul. Beasley went down last week with a foot injury against Chivas, forcing coach Rubén Omar Romano to sub the American defender in the 73rd minute. While mainly seeing time with the U.S. Men’s National Team as a left fullback, Beasley came into the match at the half deployed in a more traditional left wing slot. Two minutes after his introduction, he nearly made his presence felt with a clear chance on net that was tackled away.

And while Jermaine Jones failed to make the 18-man roster for his new club, Besiktas, the 32-year-old midfielder continues to make strides towards full health. Suffering from a groin injury, the German-American hard-man has failed to make a single appearance for his new club since being loaned by Schalke on January 28th. However, there were early reports this week that he began jogging with the team and ultimately, participated in full club practices.

Jones hasn’t played a single minute of club action since December 21st. His next opportunity could come this Saturday with a fixture against Turkish powerhouse Galatasaray away and another chance on March 1st at home against Antalyaspor prior to the U.S. friendly against Ukraine on March 5th.

U.S. NOTES

  • Jozy Altidore was held off of Sunderland’s FA Cup match against Southampton (a 1-0 Black Cats victory)
  • Danny Williams scored the opening goal in a 3-1 Reading route of QPR.
  • Sacha Kljestan scored a goal and added an assist in RSC Anderlecht’s 2-0 win vs. RAEC Bergen Mons on Sunday.
  • Aron Johannsson scored in AZ’s 1-1 draw against Juan Agudelo’s Utrecht.
  • Terrence Boyd scored for Rapid Vienna in the 93rd minute as a late game sub as his team dropped a 2-1 decision to Admira Wacker.