Brayan Beckeles photo by Tim Sullivan/For Club and Country
The 2020 report cards move along in reverse playing-time order. That means a guy who made just two appearances for the Boys in Gold is up. Former Honduran international Brayan Beckeles’s time in Gold will likely go down as a disappointment.
Other editions: No minutes and gone • No minutes and back • Jimmy Medranda • Brayan Beckeles • Handwalla Bwana • Jack Maher • David Accam • Alan Winn • Matt LaGrassa • Eric Miller • Derrick Jones • Jhonder Cádiz • Taylor Washington • Abu Danladi • Jalil Anibaba • Dominique Badji • Daniel Ríos • Tah Brian Anunga • Alex Muyl • Hany Mukhtar • Aníbal Godoy • Alistair Johnston • Randall Leal • Dax McCarty • Dan Lovitz • Walker Zimmerman • Dave Romney • Joe Willis
There were two poles of interpretation for how Beckeles’s season could be expected to turn out. On one hand, he was coming off a single season back in his native Honduras after being a lock starter for Liga MX side Necaxa for four straight years. On the other, he was injury-plagued back with Olimpia, and at 34, one could worry that age would catch up to him (and had already started to do so).
Even with that in mind, Beckeles was clearly brought in with the expectation of being in a starting rotation as the right back starter – possibly even a clear first-choice option at the position – perhaps seeing his playing time dwindle as the year went along, but certainly getting around 1000 minutes at a minimum. The fact that he had experience both at RB and as a CB was also a route to the field.
The Honduras international was not the biggest name to sign, but “full international” is also an impressive bar to clear for an expansion MLS side, regardless of age. Given that he was already a green-card holder thanks to family connections, arrived on a free transfer, and didn’t likely take a huge salary, it was a reasonably exciting signing at the time.
2 appearances • 81 minutes
0 goals, 0 shots
0 assists, 0 key passes
28/35 passing (80% • 72.1% expected)
9.9% of touches on-field
-0.13 Goals added per 96 minutes versus average fullback
|Brayan Beckeles 2020|
|Dribbling G+||Fouling G+||Interrupting G+||Passing G+||Receiving G+||Shooting G+|
Beckeles’s age seemed to be the factor that won out (there’s also something to be said for the gap between Liga MX and MLS to be as narrow as it ever has – or even in MLS’s advantage – everywhere other than the very top Mexican sides, but that’s a tale for another day).
Of course, in the world of 2020, there are other factors to take into account. Beckeles contracted the novel coronavirus and suffered minor symptoms – not necessarily the biggest deal in absolute terms since he recovered, but for a guy already racing the clock on the end of his career, any setback makes that battle a little tougher. Add in that he didn’t win the starting position from the jump – Eric Miller was in the titular for the first two contests – and that a high-potential rookie (Alistair Johnston) was able to turn the break in play into an opportunity to take his game to a starting level, and Murphy’s Law struck Beckeles.
That said, given his historical levels of performance, you’d have liked to see him work his way back into at least a partial contributor, rather than one who played just nine minutes in the final 20 games of the season.
Beckeles is at a very different point in his life than many others around MLS. He turned 35 after the season ended, with a wife and kids – and having played nearly 15 professional years, one in a European top flight and five in Liga MX. Capping that off with a disappointing season on-field (but also a move to the United States with the accompanying desirable lifestyle that often appeals to late-career players) is bittersweet, but may very well be the indication that the playing phase of Beckeles’s soccer journey is winding down. I certainly wouldn’t expect MLS-level teams to come calling, nor do I think he sees a need to play at a USL-like level.
If he wants to return to Honduras and play as much for love of the game as for the paycheck, sure. Otherwise, a retirement seems to be the move here.