On Wednesday against Houston, Crew forward Adam Bedell came on as a second-half substitute with his team trailing by one. Desperate for a goal, Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter opted to bring the Michigan native on in the 77th minute, a 13-minute run. For Bedell, it was his longest-career stretch of action thus far in 2014.
"It was good to get some minutes," said Bedell. "I’ve been craving it for the last few games, not getting in, five or six minutes here and there. It was good to get some more time."
Although his time on the pitch was relatively brief, Bedell, searching for his first MLS goal, was involved in some chances and near misses for the Crew attack.
"I thought I played alright. It’s tough, you have to get into the flow of the game really quickly when you go in there. As I play more games, get more time, I’ll get more acclimated to it. I thought I worked really hard and thought I brought something to the team."
When Bedell gets on the field, he knows he has to work as hard as he possibly can to impress Berhalter and the Crew brass. One play from the Houston match that embodies that occurred in the 90th minute, when the 6'7" forward tracked all the way back to his own box to intercept a Corey Ashe centering pass that was intended for Andrew Driver, breaking up a sequence that might have created an insurance goal for Houston. Bedell credited his hustle on that play to one of his soccer idols.
"Anytime I get time, I’m going to give it 110%," said Bedell. "If that means tracking back like I did to save them from getting a goal, that’s what I’m going to do. Wayne Rooney, a perfect example, a guy I look up to as a forward: he does that. I try to emulate that when I play. Anything I can do to help the team, I’m going to do it, and that was just a little taste of what I can do."
With the FIFA World Cup rapidly approaching, Bedell knows that he has an opportunity to expand his role should Jairo Arrieta be called into the Costa Rica National Team.
"It’s definitely come across my mind multiple times. I’m working to get more time, and if Jairo does go with Costa Rica to the World Cup, I’m ready to step in. I’m looking forward to the opportunity if it happens, and if not, I’m going to keep working and try to get starts and as much time as I can."
The first thing that any onlooker notices when watching Bedell play is his height. At 6'7", he's hard to miss. Although he knows that his height will grant him the label of target forward, the former University of Detroit Mercy Titan is working hard to become the total package at striker, even though he admits that his size sets him apart from his fellow Crew forwards.
"I’m 6’7”, and I don’t have the speed of [Dominic Oduro], or the different things that Jairo can bring to the team and the game, but I like to be thought of as a complete forward. I have good feet, and can win balls in the air. I don’t want to be seen as just a tall forward, I want to be seen as a complete player."
Berhalter said that, should Arrieta go to Brazil, increasing Bedell's role is "certainly an option."
"He’s a guy that’s been developing and getting better," said the Crew boss. "We’re working on his finishing and his movements."
If Bedell gets a chance to come on against Vancouver tonight (7:30 p.m. ET, Time Warner Cable SportsChannel), you can bet that Berhalter will be keeping a close eye on his performance.
"That’s why he’s here, to position himself to play," said Berhalter. "He’s certainly one of the guys we’re looking at."