We wrote after the U.S.’s tie against Portugal that RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman’s strong performances for the Americans were becoming routine.
Now, with the U.S. through to Round of 16, Beckerman’s solid outings are more than just routine, they’re expected.
Beckerman was steady as ever for the U.S. in its 1-0 loss to Germany on Thursday, hardly putting a foot wrong in 90 minutes against Die Mannschaft. The heart-and-soul of the Claret-and-Cobalt, Beckerman was excellent defensively, tying for first on the team with two interceptions, leading all non-defenders with three clearances and tying for third on the team with a pair of tackles. His biggest defensive play probably came in the 79th minute, when he stripped forward Mario Gotze on the edge of the box to snuff out a dangerous German chance.
Beckerman was nearly as good in possession, finishing second on the team with 38 successful passes and a 93 percent passing accuracy. Importantly, Beckerman consistently looked forward while on the ball, often turning out of trouble to find Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones or another teammate higher up the field.
Kyle will have another chance to shine on Tuesday, when the U.S. takes on Belgium in the Round of 16. Kick is at 2:00 p.m. MT in Salvador. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN.
Real Salt Lake Captain Kyle Beckerman joined The Dan Patrick Show on Tuesday morning, talking with Dan and the guys about the U.S.'s draw with Portugal on Sunday, Cristiano Ronaldo and the etiquette on jersey swaps at the end of matches.
The best part of Kyle's interview came when Dan asked if he'd cut his dreads to guarantee a win over Germany. His response? A quick yes, of course.
Check out Kyle's entire interview from this morning's show up above.
It’s all becoming a little bit routine, isn’t it?
Nearly every single time RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman steps onto the field for the U.S. Men’s National Team, he turns in a workmanlike, stable and – ultimately impressive – performance.
Sunday’s 2-2 draw against Portugal was no exception, with Beckerman starting and playing the full 90 against Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. As always, Beckerman was solid tactically, positioning himself expertly and providing plenty of solid cover in front of the American backline. His four interceptions were second only to center back Matt Besler’s five and his two clearances were tied for fourth overall and tied for first among U.S. midfielders.
The defensive midfielder was also solid in possession, completing 53 of 58 passes, good for a 90 percent completion rate. Beckerman’s 53 successful passes were second on the team to fellow midfielder Michael Bradley and his 90 percent success rate was fourth on the squad on Sunday.
Most importantly, Beckerman gave the U.S. a victory in the critical “Midfield Battle for Hair Dominance” on Sunday, crushing Portugal’s mohawked midfielder Raul Meireles in the tackle and in the tresses.
As always, the Men In Blazers have more:
Beckerman and the U.S. will return to action on Thursday, taking on Germany at 10 a.m. MT with their Round of 16 hopes on the line.
One of our favorite parts of John Brooks’ game-winning goal for the U.S. last night was the celebration.
No, we’re not talking about Brooks’ celebration – though his weird, I don’t know what to do with myself so I’m just gonna go lie down over here thing was pretty good. We’re talking about Jurgen Klinsmann and Nick Rimando’s hug on the bench.
10 out of 10, dudes. Robin van Persie and Louis van Gaal could learn a couple of things from you two.
RSL Head Coach Jeff Cassar had our favorite quote about the celebration.
— Heath Waddingham (@RSLTotalMLS) June 17, 2014
Nick had a really nice follow-up tweet, too. Just really well done all around. Bravo.
— Nick Rimando (@NickRimando) June 17, 2014
RSL and USMNT goalkeeper and Southern California native Nick Rimando got a little bit of love from one of the biggest stars in baseball on Friday, as LA Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig donned The Wall of the Wasatch’s U.S. shirt for a TwitPic.
— yasielpuig (@YasielPuig) June 13, 2014
A Cuban defector, Puig is killing it for the Dodgers this year, sitting near the top of MLB in several major statistical categories. We won’t question his judgment too much – he is one of the most electric players in baseball – but he might want to take that Rimando shirt a size up. Smedium’s totally played out.
Rimando, RSL teammate Kyle Beckerman and the rest of the U.S. squad will begin their World Cup on Monday, taking on Ghana in a critical Group G match at 4:00 p.m. MT on ESPN. Check out our #RSLBrazil section for front-to-back coverage of that match as well as the rest of the World Cup.
Think RSL players are feeling the World Cup?
Watch the Claret-and-Cobalt's Colombian forward Olmes Garcia and Colombian-American midfielder Sebastian Velasquez celebrate their country's second goal in today's Group C match against Greece. Video courtesy of RSL Ecuadorian forward Joao Plata's Instagram account.
Garcia, Velasquez, Plata and the rest of the RSL squad will be in action tonight, taking on the NASL's Atlanta Silverbacks in U.S. Open Cup play at 6 p.m. MT at Atlanta Silverbacks Park. Watch a live stream of the match right here on RealSaltLake.com.
Real Salt Lake defender Chris Wingert got in on the World Cup prognosticating this week, providing some insight for The Shin Guardian’s fantastically thorough U.S.-Ghana preview.
Here’s Wingert on how the U.S. should look to start the game against the Black Stars:
“I would say the US has to stay disciplined. Our chances will come if we stay patient and defend well–similar to the game against Nigeria. If we get involved in a track meet early and don’t defend with numbers, I think we’ll get exposed.”
And here’s the RSL left back on what to watch when the U.S. is defending set pieces:
“In the game against Nigeria the US looked to have a few guys playing zone defense on Nigeria’s corner kicks. Personally, I’m not a big fan of playing zone when defending set pieces. It allows the attackers to get a free run at the ball since nobody is responsible for impeding these runs. If you have a great ball-winner in the air (maybe like an Omar Gonzalez) then it might be smart to leave him free and let him hunt the ball. All the other attackers should be accounted for with individual defenders in my opinion.”
Be sure to check out The Shin Guardian’s entire preview here. Read it, you’ll learn something.
Really cool illustration work by Devin Dulany for Howler magazine's online piece on RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman and USMNT teammate Jermaine Jones.
Entitled "Our Dreaded Midfield" and written by Mike McCall, the piece details how - after years of being viewed as fighting for one spot in the starting lineup - Beckerman and Jones just might team up together in Jurgen Klinsmann's XI in Brazil.
It's a really nice read; certainly worth the time for all you Beckerman fans out there. Here's the money quote, given by Klinsmann after he started both Beckerman and Jones in the midfield in the U.S.'s 2-1 win over Nigeria on Saturday:
“I saw a lot of work that they did, tremendous cleaning up all over the place,” Klinsmann said in his post-match press conference. “We know Kyle, and that’s his specialty, to protect his teammates and run endless miles for the team. Jermaine in that half position has more freedom to go forward so he can kind of switch back and forth with Michael Bradley, and he knows that there’s someone behind him there, so ‘If I lose the ball in my run, Kyle is going to clean up for me.’ It worked out really well.”
RSL Head Coach Jeff Cassar took a quick break from the training field and film room on Tuesday night, rolling up to the Lionel Richie and Cee-Lo Green concert in a pretty rad tank top.
— Rox Hasegawa (@Roxoramma) June 11, 2014
RSL assistant coaches Daryl Shore and Andy Williams were also at the concert. Andy thinks he and Cee-Lo look a bit alike. See any resemblance?
— Andy Williams (@bommadog) June 11, 2014
Cassar, Shore and Williams and the rest of the RSL coaching staff will run training sessions in Salt Lake on Wednesday and Thursday before departing for Atlanta ahead of Saturday’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match at the Silverbacks.