He may be 36, but DaMarcus Beasley cut the figure of a young man after doing his part to help Houston Dynamo win the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup for the first time in club history. Wearing his crisp, new championship cap, the Dynamo captain and four-time World Cup participant, a bona fide legend in America soccer, buzzed with excitement and a palpable pride in yet another achievement in a career full of them.
Before he took to the podium to lift the trophy he previously won as a much younger man with Chicago Fire in 2000 and 2003, he spoke to ussoccer.com wearing a smile as big as the sprawling Houston skyline. It might well be the last trophy Beasley wins as a professional soccer player, and he was going to savor every second of it as strands of orange confetti fell around him.
(DaMarcus Beasley won his third Open Cup at the age of 36)
A 3-0 win at home against Philadelphia to pick up the Open Cup trophy – that’s a pretty comprehensive win. How does it all feel right now?
DaMarcus Beasley: It’s amazing. I feel so great right now and I’m happy for my teammates and everyone and their families and the fans here tonight. It’s just a great feeling.
Was that early goal just what the doctor ordered to settle nerves and take the edge off?
DB: I think we surprised them a little because we came out so hot and so ready to play. We started out really fast tonight. Credit to our boys up top, they did a great job. They put the ball in when we needed them to and we held them back in the defense.
Mauro Manotas is having an incredible year. How important were his two goals tonight and his contributions overall in this Open Cup run?
DB: Manotas, man, he just keeps scoring. He came through for us because we wanted to start at a fast pace. That was the plan from the start. Mauro’s been doing it all season. I mean 20 goals in all competitions and top scorer in the Open Cup. He’s been doing what he gets paid to do and this is his tournament. He loves this championship – this Open Cup. Hats off to everybody. To Mauro. To the boys up top, to the whole team. The staff, you know. I’m just so proud of everybody!
(Beasley is a legend of American soccer and he has a hat-trick of Open Cups)
It’s not been the easiest year for the Dynamo, especially in the league. What does this win mean considering all the ups and downs of late?
DB: The season we’ve had, it’s been so up and down. We’ve had a tough time of it, and I’m not saying this Cup saves our season because it doesn’t. But it feels good to be a champion.
You’ve won the Open Cup before, but you were a much, much younger man 18 years ago. What does it feel like to win on this side of things, looking back on your career rather than ahead?
DB: It’s a different feeling looking back from where I am now, later in my career. I’m really at a loss for words. I’m 36 and I just won another trophy. It was really important to me and everyone knew that – the coaches and my teammates. I’m so happy and just so ecstatic that everyone played their part. Everyone did their job. We stuck together as a team. We got the win and that’s all that matters.
You were able to build momentum and really get a good run of form in this Open Cup. What made you so good in this tournament. What did you do that got you here?
DB: Win. What we did right was win. And believe. We believed too. You think of the teams that we’ve played – on paper every team we played was better than us. SKC, on paper better. LAFC, on paper, was better. Philadelphia Union, on paper, better. But it’s a game. You gotta still play the game on the field. That’s why I give my team so much credit.
(Beasley was all smiles after winning his third USOC)
Did that make a big difference in this Cup run, being the underdog?
DB: We’re the underdogs in every game we played and the fact that we came out and we wanted to win this championship from the beginning really mattered in the end. We wanted it bad. I’m so glad that all the hard work and all the sweat that we went through this season, especially with things not going our way in the league, came to something.To come out champions in this tournament doesn’t take anything away, but it feels damned good.
The fans stood by you through the ups and downs. How did these fans impact the game tonight? What’s your message for these fans who were so noisy all night?
DB: Oh man, they were our 12th man tonight. It was so great to see them come out in numbers. It’s been a hell of a year in a lot of ways, and I’m glad these fans here came out and stuck with us. That’s what it’s about. We’re one family. Even though we’ve been losing in the regular season, they still came out and cheered us on when we scored, when we attacked and when we were having a little trouble in the second half. They stayed with us and that helps the players. Congrats to these fans in here. This Cup is for our fans, for the city of Houston. We were able to bring another championship back to Houston, and I’m so proud of everyone for it.