Bedoya delighted to be back for U.S.

After an injury, the USA's Alejandro Bedoya (pictured) returned to international play in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup. (Photo: Mexsport)

KANSAS CITY, Kansas -- For someone who hadn’t played in two months, Alejandro Bedoya acquitted himself quite well for the United States in a 1-1 draw with Panama on Monday.

He had battled a nagging knee injury that forced him to miss the end of the season for Nantes -- his club in France -- as well as important friendlies against the Netherlands and Germany ahead of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

“It felt good to get back in the starting lineup and, for me, the important thing was to get my match fitness up,” Bedoya said. “I felt like I wasn’t fully sharp, but it definitely was worth it.”

The 28-year-old midfielder, who visited five doctors during that span, wasn’t included in the Americans’ first two matches of the Gold Cup – wins over Honduras and Haiti.

However, his performance against Panama in a physical match played on a steamy evening at Sporting Park was a positive development to U.S. head coach Jürgen Klinsmann.

“You see his quality, his capability to keep the ball, to shield it and make runs and surprise the opponent,” Klinsmann said. “Overall, his game was very positive for the fact that he hasn’t played in quite some time. We keep him building, give him a rest tomorrow and keep building him going forward.”

After assisting on Michael Bradley’s tying goal in the 55th minute, Bedoya left the match 16 minutes later. He was limping, but it wasn’t from the same knee injury that had him sidelined for two months. Rather, it was a result of a challenge late in the first half.

“I was pretty gassed, but I also picked up a knock,” Bedoya remarked. “It was clearly a foul, but he got his legs up on my calf and I was feeling it. I got a little contusion there.”

With his first match in two months behind him, Bedoya will now return to the training ground with his teammates and prepare for Saturday’s quarterfinal in Baltimore.

“Now we have a couple of days of longer rest than usual,” finished Bedoya. “I think it’s important that we recover mentally and physically, as well as look at videos. We all know we need to improve and do better, look at what we could do better and keep moving forward. The knockout round is what really matters.”