The USMNT take on Nigeria tomorrow in the final match of its World Cup "Send-Off Series." The Americans have two victories under its belt, defeating Azerbaijan and Turkey in its previous friendlies. Despite the wins, the Stars-and-Stripes are still looking to put in a complete performance. RSL midfielder Kyle Beckerman made appearance last weekend against Turkey, subbing on at the start of the second half for midfielder Jermaine Jones, while RSL 'keeper Nick Rimando remained on the bench. Let's hope both players get a look on Saturday in what will be one of the last chances to impress U.S. Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann. A preview from MLSsoccer.com can be found here.
And check out MLSsoccer.com's video preview with Andrew Wiebe and Greg Lalas above.
Match kicks at 4:00 p.m. MT on ESPN2.
Real Salt Lake Captain Kyle Beckerman sat down with ABC4's Bill Riley prior to being named to the U.S.'s final 23-man World Cup roster. The RSL veteran discusses his journey to the USMNT and fulfilling his childhood dream of representing the U.S. in a World Cup. As if you needed any more excitement leading up to Brazil, check out the great interview above.
Real Salt Lake Captain Kyle Beckerman did not feature in the U.S.’s 2-0 win over Azerbaijan on Tuesday night, with U.S. Manager Jurgen Klinsmann opting to play Jermaine Jones all 90 minutes at the base of the USMNT’s midfield diamond.
Klinsmann seemed to think highly of Jones’ performance in the U.S.’s rather listless win, praising the German-American midfielder in his postgame press conference.
“Jermaine has played throughout years different roles, maybe as an eight, meaning a little bit higher up, similar to Michael Bradley today,” Klinsmann said. “If we play a diamond like we did then it’s really important that he stays there and protects our two center backs, builds a triangle with them.”
“With his passing technique he can open up and switch a game right away, though today it was very difficult because he couldn’t hit any high balls [due to the wind]. But he understood that role. He said ‘Oh, I’ve played that I don’t know how many times, it’s not a big deal.’ And the way he recovers balls and is physical with the opponent is just one of his strengths that we hopefully see in Brazil, as well.”
Beckerman, of course, knows the base of the diamond position better than anyone on the U.S. roster, spending the last eight seasons playing the holding role for Real Salt Lake. He played as the holder in a diamond midfield for the U.S. in its 2-2 draw against Mexico on April 2, a role that seemed to allow Michael Bradley to advance further up the field than he did on Tuesday night while playing with Jones.
We’ll see if Beckerman gets a chance to start in any of the U.S.’s remaining tune-up matches ahead of the World Cup. The Americans will play three friendlies before opening Group G action against Ghana on June 16, taking on Turkey in New York on Sunday, facing Nigeria in Jacksonville on June 7 and playing Belgium in a closed-door match in Brazil on June 12.
What you might not know is that Beckerman’s and Rimando’s call-ups mark the third-straight time that RSL has put at least one player on the U.S. Men’s National Team’s World Cup squad. That’s right: RSL has put a player on the USMNT’s World Cup squad in all three World Cups that the club has existed for.
In 2006, RSL sent defender Eddie Pope to Germany with the U.S. In 2010, it was forward Robbie Findley that made the trip, heading to South Africa for the Americans’ run to the Round of 16. Both players featured for the U.S. at the World Cup, with Pope starting two of the U.S.’s three games in 2006 and Findley getting the nod in three of the U.S.’s four contests in 2010.
RSL is one of just two clubs to put a player on the U.S. team for each of the last three World Cups. The only other? LA Galaxy, which has sent a player to the USMNT in each of the five World Cups it has been around for.
RSL is one of just three teams to put a player on the USMNT’s World Cup roster for every World Cup of the club’s existence, joining LA and the defunct Tampa Bay Mutiny, which put a player on the 1998 U.S. World Cup roster before folding after the 2001 MLS season.
Video: Beckerman and Rimando featured in first look at ESPN's "Inside: U.S. Soccer's March to Brazil"
As part of its coverage of this summer’s World Cup, ESPN will be airing a six-part documentary series called “Inside: U.S. Soccer’s March to Brazil.” The series will take an all-access look at the USMNT as it prepares for Brazil, giving viewers a behind the scenes look with Jurgen Klinsmann and the full squad in the months and weeks leading up to the tournament.
Directed by Jonathan Hock – the man behind the well-done “MLS Insider” series – and Roger Bennett – ESPNFC writer, Men in Blazers podcaster and noted fan of Kyle Beckerman – the first episode of the series will air next Tuesday and will run for five consecutive weeks.
ESPN released a preview of the series yesterday, and we’ve taken the liberty of embedding it above. Beckerman and RSL teammate Nick Rimando are featured in the preview, and we promise that it’s well worth a watch. Check it out up top.
The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team lost 2-0 in the 2014 Dallas Cup Final to Argentine side River Plate at the Cotton Bowl on Sunday. The two sides had met previously in their opening match of the tournament, which saw a different outcome with the Americans coming out on top 3-2.
River Plate’s Lucas Boye proved unstoppable, as he scored both goals – one in each half – for the Argentine side. The U.S. looked to be out of gas after having played five games in seven days. A match recap can be found here.
The U.S. U-20’s went undefeated up until the Final, defeating River Plate 3-2, shutting out German side Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0, beating Mexican club Tigres UANL 1-0 and defeating Brazilian club Fluminense 3-2 in the semifinals.
Two RSL players, midfielder Jordan Allen and forward Benji Lopez, featured heavily for the Americans throughout the tournament. Allen notched two assists and earned the game-winning penalty in the semifinal match against Fluminense. Lopez recorded one goal, notching the first in the Americans’ 3-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt.
Both Allen and Lopez will return to Salt Lake City today.
Real Salt Lake’s Jordan Allen played a big role for the U.S. Under-20 National Team in its 3-2 Dallas Cup Semifinal victory over Brazilian club Fluminense on Friday, coming off the bench and hitting the post and earning the game-winning PK for the Stars-and-Stripes.
The U.S. got off to a great start on Friday, getting goals from Rubio Rubin and Ben Spencer to take a 2-0 lead after just 18 minutes. Fluminense cut the U.S.’s lead in half just before the halftime whistle and went up a man shortly after the break, with U.S. defender Erik Palmer-Brown picking up a second yellow card in the 48th minute. The U.S. held strong after Palmer-Brown’s ejection, but couldn’t quite see the game out, with Fluminense equalizing in the third minute of stoppage time to force extra time.
Allen was active in overtime, hitting a curling ball off the post in the first period of extra time and getting fouled in the box to earn the decisive penalty in the second overtime period. Rubin had his ensuing PK saved, but he slotted home the rebound to give the U.S. a 3-2 win.
— Jordan Allen (@jayalllen) April 19, 2014
Allen, fellow RSL Homegrown Benji Lopez and the rest of the U.S. U-20’s will take on a youth side from Argentine club River Plate in the Dallas Cup Final at 5:00 p.m. MT on Sunday.
Real Salt Lake U.S. youth internationals Jordan Allen and Benji Lopez continued their fine showing at the Dallas Cup on Wednesday, starting for the U.S. U-20’s in their 1-0 Dallas Cup Gordon Jago Super Group win over a youth side from Mexican club Tigres UANL.
Rubio Rubin had the lone goal in the U.S.’s win, which propelled the U-20’s to Friday’s Dallas Cup Semifinals. Allen, Lopez and the rest of the U.S. squad will face off against Brazilian side Fluminense at 6:30 p.m. MT on Friday, with the winner advancing to take on the winner of the River Plate-Coritiba semifinal in Sunday’s final. The U.S. already beat River Plate in the Group Stage, with Allen registering two assists in the U-20’s 3-2 win over the Argentine club this past Sunday. Lopez scored a goal for the U.S. in its 3-0 win over German club Eintracht Frankfurt on Monday.
Allen and Lopez will return to Real Salt Lake following the completion of the Dallas Cup. Neither will be available for this Saturday’s home game against Portland Timbers.
Another win for the U.S. U-20’s, another strong performance by a Real Salt Lake player.
Forward Benji Lopez helped the U-20’s to a 3-0 Dallas Cup win over a youth side from Eintracht Frankfurt on Monday, starting and scoring the Americans’ first goal in their victory over the German club. Lopez’s performance came one day after midfielder Jordan Allen notched two assists in the U.S.’s 3-2 win over a River Plate youth side in its Dallas Cup opener on Sunday.
Allen and Lopez were called to the U-20’s last week for the Dallas Cup. The U.S. will play its final Dallas Cup Gordon Jago Super Group match on Wednesday, taking on a youth team from Mexican club Tigres UANL.
— Benji Lopez (@Theonlybenji_11) April 14, 2014
The U.S. currently sits in first place in Bracket C of the Gordon Jago Super Group, three points ahead of second-place River Plate. The three Bracket winners and the top second-place team of the three brackets will advance to the Dallas Cup semifinals, which will be played on Friday.