The theme of this Copa America Centenario for Jurgen Klinsmann and the United States was consistency. A lot of fans and media have been begging for some consistency within the USMNT lineup for years and with this tournament we finally got it. When you think of consistency, Alejandro Bedoya is likely one of the first players you think about. He's not the most talented player we've ever had, but he always seems to be there, just plugging away and getting his job done. So, how did the midfielder perform in this major tournament?
Bedoya started in five of the six matches. Here's a look at his notable numbers:
Games Played: 5
Key Passes: 6
Shots Created: 9
Defensive Actions: 14
On the surface, Bedoya had a mediocre tournament. He didn't score a goal or record an assist. But when you really dig into the numbers, his value becomes apparent. His six key passes in five matches led the team, while his nine shots created ranked third. His distribution was crucial in the attack, while his 14 defensive actions show that he's a true two-way player. He's not a flashy player, but his contributions are extremely useful to the whole of the team.
His consistent form and leadership on the field makes him one of the first names on Klinsmann's team sheet and he proved why in this tournament. He may not always shine or stand out, but he's usually pulling the strings and helping the engine run under the hood.
Some USMNT supporters, myself included, have been vocal about Bedoya in the past. The desire for more skillful players to take his spot in the lineup has always been there, but he just keeps on producing and flying under the radar to help the team any way he can.
Bedoya certainly had a good tournament, but it wasn't perfect by any means. The most notable negative has to be him picking up a yellow card against Ecuador in the quarterfinals and missing the semifinal against Argentina. His absence in that match was felt drastically. While I think we can all agree that the yellow card accumulation rules of today are ridiculous (make it 3 yellow cards for a suspension or reset them after the group stage already, jeez), he still has to show some discipline and avoid picking up a yellow when he knows it will hurt his team in the long run.
We've already touched on his impressive distribution and chance creation, however it's not all positive in the attacking end for Bedoya. His goal scoring prowess and composure in front of goal still leaves much to be desired. Against Ecuador with the U.S. already leading 1-0, he received a golden chance to extend the lead. A chance fell to him in the box, 1 on 1 and he scuffed his shot right to the goalkeeper. It's not fair to single out one chance and criticize him for it, but this isn't the first time it's happened and it likely won't be the last. For all the good he does in midfield, it would be nice if he was a little more clinical in front of goal.
Copa Grade - B
As usual, he was steady and impactful during the entirety of the tournament. Of course it would've been nice had he gotten on the score sheet or picked up an assist, but he still made his presence known with his effective midfield play both attacking and defending.
As of now, Bedoya is still a Nantes player. There have been whispers about interest from the Bundesliga and the Premier League and even some MLS rumors. No matter where Bedoya lands at the club level, his spot on the USMNT seems to be set in stone until he starts to falter or another player emerges to push him out of the way.