Real Salt Lake Captain Kyle Beckerman and veteran goalkeeper Nick Rimando returned to Salt Lake City last Thursday just in time to help lead the Claret-and-Cobalt to a much needed 2-1 win over New England Revolution the following day. The U.S. duo started and played a full 90 minutes just 24 hours after travelling over 6,000 miles from Brazil and spending almost two months with the U.S. preparing for and participating in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The return of two of RSL’s most important players was needed as the Claret-and-Cobalt finally snapped its five-game winless streak in MLS play as it heads into its final stretch of 2014.
Before Friday’s match v. New England, Beckerman and Rimando sat down with former RSL-man Brian Dunseth to share and give some insight into their World Cup experience. Check out the must-see interviews below.
Fan voting for the 2014 AT&T MLS All-Star Game closes this Friday, July 11 at 11:00 a.m. MT. So that means RSL fans only have five more days to get as many Claret-and-Cobalt players as possible to Portland for the summer showcase against Bayern Munich. Seven RSL players are nominated (eight when including injured RSL forward Alvaro Saborio) all deserving of being named the best of MLS. Here are their 2014 highlight videos. Share and vote here!
Captain Kyle Beckerman:
Goalkeeper Nick Rimando:
Midfielder Javier Morales:
Defender Chris Schuler:
Defender Nat Borchers:
Defender Tony Beltran:
Real Salt Lake returns home on Friday, hosting Eastern Conference foe New England Revolution at Rio Tinto Stadium at 8:00 p.m. MT.
Here are a few storylines to watch ahead of Friday’s Independence Day match:
Will U.S. internationals, Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando return to the lineup?
Real Salt Lake Captain Kyle Beckerman and goalkeeper Nick Rimando returned to the Utah club today after the U.S. bowed out of the 2014 FIFA World Cup on Tuesday. The U.S. was knocked out of the tournament after suffering a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to Belgium in extra time in its Round of 16 match.
Real Salt Lake has missed Beckerman and Rimando dearly, going 1-3-2 in MLS in their absence. The Claret-and-Cobalt also fell 2-1 at Atlanta Silverbacks in the club’s opening U.S. Open Cup match on June 14.
The duo's status is still unclear ahead of Friday's match, with both players likely struggling with the quick turnaround from Brazil. If Beckerman and Rimando don't start on Friday, a sold-out Rio Tinto Stadium will still be there to welcome home two of its greatest players.
Can RSL break its winless streak on Friday?
Real Salt Lake is now winless in its last five MLS matches, and six across all competition including the Claret-and-Cobalt’s loss in U.S. Open Cup play. RSL enters Friday’s match on a three-game losing streak across all competition, falling 3-1 at home to Portland on June 7, suffering a 2-1 defeat at Atlanta in the U.S. Open Cup on June 14 and most recently falling 1-0 at Chivas USA on June 28. RSL got off to a great start in 2014, going undefeated for its first 12 games. Hopefully, the Claret-and-Cobalt can return to its winning ways on Independence Day.
Real Salt Lake will look to improve its Independence Day record
RSL will look to improve its rather meager record in Independence Day matches on Friday. The July 4th match will be the Claret-and-Cobalt’s ninth game on the summer holiday in Utah, with RSL posting a 1-1-7 record. RSL and New England Revolution have also met before on Independence Day, playing to a 3-3 draw in 2011 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Real Salt Lake undefeated against New England since 2010
The Claret-and-Cobalt has done well against New England in the past four years, going undefeated against the Revs ever since 2010. RSL has recorded four wins and one draw in that time frame. In 2010, RSL thrashed New England 5-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium and then won 2-1 on the road later that year. The Claret-and-Cobalt went on to defeat the Revs 2-0 on the road and draw 3-3 at home the following year. In their yearly meetings in 2012 and 2013, RSL pulled off 2-1 wins in both encounters.
Salt Lake City showed up in a big way on Tuesday, with over 6,000 Utahns packing downtown's Gallivan Center for the USA v. Belgium match. The show of support for the U.S. Men's National Team was tremendous and solidified that fact that Salt Lake City and Utah as a whole, is a hotbed for soccer. A huge thank you for all the fans that showed up to cheer on the USA and RSL.
Here's video of SLC going crazy after Julian Green scored for the U.S. in extra time:
The Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-16’s and U-18’s wrapped up the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs last week, with the U-16’s advancing to the quarterfinals while the RSL-AZ U-18’s were eliminated from postseason play.
The RSL-Z U-16’s – reigning U.S. Soccer Development Academy National Champions – finished at the top of their group with a 2-0-1 record and total of six points, earning first-place based on goal differential. The U-16’s opened group play with a 3-1 victory over New Jersey Soccer Academy 04 all thanks to a hat trick from Claret-and-Cobalt FW Sebastian Saucedo. The youngsters then went on to defeat Georgia United 5-2, powered by another hat trick from Saucedo, and finished the week off with a 2-0 loss to St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri. The RSL-AZ U-16 squad will look to retain their title, hosting its quarterfinal match at home in Casa Grande, Arizona on either July 7 or 9. The exact date, time and opponent will be announced at a later date.
The RSL-AZ U-18’s did not fare as well as their younger counterparts, finishing second in their group with a 1-1-1 record and total of four points. Seattle Sounders FC U-18’s finished first with a perfect 3-0-0 record to advance to the quarterfinals. The RSL-AZ U-18’s opened up group play with a 1-1 draw against Indiana Fire and went on to earn three points with a 4-3 win over Concorde Fire. In the final group stage match, needing a win to advance to the quarterfinals, the RSL-AZ U-18’s fell 3-1 to Seattle after taking the lead early in the second half. The RSL-AZ U-18’s finished the regular season with an 18-4-5 record, the best record in history for a U-18 team at Grande Sports World.
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.
The opportunity for Real Salt Lake fans to send Claret-and-Cobalt players to the 2014 AT&T MLS All-Star Game is winding down. Fans have two weeks left to vote for the seven RSL players that are on the “Fan XI” ballot. Real Salt Lake is facing some stiff competition for the final roster spots, so they need as many votes as possible. Let's spread the word and show MLS how deserving all seven RSL players named to the fan ballot are of representing the best of the league in Portland.
Throughout the next week we will be rolling out 2014 highlight videos of all seven players nominated. First up, here are some of the best RSL moments of 2014 for US internationals Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando. Vote HERE for RSL through July 11.
Real Salt Lake returns to MLS action on Saturday, taking on Chivas USA at StubHub Center at 8:30 p.m. MT.
Here are a few storylines to watch ahead of Saturday’s clash:
Can Real Salt Lake return to its winning ways?
Heading into the MLS World Cup break, the Claret-and-Cobalt hit a bit of a slump, going winless in its last four matches. Real Salt Lake played FC Dallas to a scoreless draw on May 24 at Rio Tinto Stadium, suffered its first loss of the season at Seattle Sounders FC, a 4-0 defeat on May 31, drew 1-1 at Columbus Crew on June 4 and fell 3-1 to Portland Timbers at home on June 7. With nearly a month off to regroup and reenergize, RSL should be hungry to claim three points this weekend.
Will Real Salt Lake continue its road dominance of Chivas USA?
The Claret-and-Cobalt have done well in recent years when facing Chivas USA on the road. The Utah club is currently riding a five-game win streak against The Goats when in Southern California. RSL’s last loss while visiting Chivas came on May 9, 2009, a 1-0 loss at then-named Home Depot Center. RSL has also boasted some high-scoring wins while on the road, routing Chivas USA 3-0 and 4-0 at the then Home Depot Center in 2012 and defeating the Red-and-White 4-1 in their sole meeting in SoCal in 2013.
Who will start up top against Chivas on Saturday?
Excluding RSL striker Alvaro Saborio who is out with a fractured foot, RSL boss Jeff Cassar will have a choice of healthy forwards when the Claret-and-Cobalt travel to Southern California this weekend. RSL’s leading scorer Joao Plata appears to be fully recovered from his hamstring injury along with Robbie Findley who has worked his way back from knee surgery undergone in the offseason – Findley started RSL’s U.S. Open Cup match against Atlanta Silverbacks on June 14. Cassar will also have target forward Devon Sandoval and the speedy Olmes Garcia to choose from as well. The first year coach has started five different pairings up top so far this season, with only Findley yet to earn an MLS start this year.
Real Salt Lake continues to deal with injuries
Real Salt Lake midfielder Ned Grabavoy is recovering from a strained right glute suffered in RSL’s last match before the MLS World Cup break, a 3-1 loss to Portland Timbers. If Grabavoy misses Saturday’s game, RSL midfielder Cole Grossman is likely to fill in at the bottom of the midfield diamond. Grossman subbed on for Grabavoy after he suffered the injury against Portland, which might mean RSL Head Coach Jeff Cassar will roll out a similar looking lineup from that night with midfielders Luis Gil and Luke Mulholland on the outside and Argentine playmaker Javier Morales at the top of the diamond.