Men In Blazers’ man Roger Bennett’s love affair with RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman just keeps on marching on.
We touched a bit on this last week, but wanted to highlight Bennett – who is co-directing ESPN’s six-part documentary series on the USMNT that will begin tonight – talking about Kyle last night on ESPN2 show “Olbermann.”
Video above (the Kyle bit starts around the 2:20 mark, but watch the whole thing, trust us) and quote below:
“Kyle, I love Kyle. I wrote a piece about a year ago called "All Hail Kyle Beckerman," Bennett said of Beckerman, who – along with RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando – was called into the U.S.’s 30-man preliminary World Cup squad yesterday. “To me he’s the perfect U.S. footballer. He’s very technical, very tactical and deeply underappreciated. He makes everybody around him play better, and he cares about everybody else on the field. His whole goal is to make the attackers attack better, the defenders defend better and it’s that sense of sacrifice and love and joy from the game that you get from Kyle.”
“But spending time with that bloke, you only get to love him even more…. Here’s the joy of Kyle, I’d say he’s one of the emotional heartbeats of this team, he’s in his 30’s, he’s never made a U.S. [World Cup] squad, he’s been a seven-time MLS All-Star, he dropped off the squad really under Bob Bradley and Klinsmann’s pulled him back. Since he was eight he’s always signed his name “Kyle Beckerman: No. 15 USA,” even in notes to his mother. It’d be, “Mum, I’ve gone to the supermarket, I’ll be back in 20 minutes, Kyle Beckerman USA No. 15.” And he’s on the brink of making that childhood dream come true.”
Mansally to Beckerman; Beckerman to Sandoval; Sandoval to Grossman; Grossman to Beltran; Beltran to Grossman; Grossman to Borchers; Borchers to Maund; Maund to Grabavoy; Grabavoy to Beckerman; Beckerman to Maund; Maund to Mansally; Mansally to Maund; Maund to Borchers; Borchers to Grossman; Grossman to Beltran; Beltran to Morales; Morales to Mulholland.
Mulholland to goal.
All 10 field players. 17 passes. One goal.
Watch the excellence above.
Will confidence override tired legs?
When Real Salt Lake takes on Houston Dynamo this Sunday at BBVA Compass Stadium, the Claret-and-Cobalt might not be sure just what type of team they will be facing. Sunday’s match will be Houston’ s third game in eight days, but the Dynamo will be riding high after back-to-back wins. So will Houston’s confidence and winning streak overpower their potentially tired legs?
Houston routed Chivas USA 4-1 at StubHub Center on last Saturday with goals supplied by U.S. internationals Brad Davis and Will Bruin, and a brace from English forward Giles Barnes. The Dynamo then returned to Texas and shutout Columbus Crew in a 1-0 win on Wednesday, with Bruin producing the game-winner and Davis supplying the assist.
Things seem to be clicking for the Texas side that now sits second in the Eastern Conference with a 4-4-2 record and total of 14 points. Sunday will also be the last MLS match before U.S. Manager Jurgen Klinsmann announces his 30-man preliminary World Cup roster. Houston’s U.S. internationals Davis and Bruin will surely be looking to shine in order to make a late case for their inclusion.
Tired legs might be something RSL can exploit on Sunday, but one can never underestimate the power of a confident and in-form side – especially, at home.
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.
Saturday’s come-from-behind, 3-2 win at Chicago was pretty awesome.
Even more awesome? This fantastic selfie taken by RSL’s Jeff Attinella, Luke Mulholland, John Stertzer, Chris Wingert, Chris Schuler and Aaron Maund.
The boys took the selfie to have a bit of fun with teammate Cole Grossman, who was not on the trip due to injury and took this legendary selfie earlier in the week:
Office consensus prefers the locker room selfie. Cole’s just seems a bit weird.
Real Salt Lake defender Chris Wingert sat down with X96’s Richie T. Steadman recently for an in-depth interview touching on a few things we don’t normally see Chris elaborate on. The veteran left back goes deep on growing up in Long Island, his childhood days as a basketball player, his father’s professional soccer career and his life off the field in the wide-ranging piece, the first in a series of sit-downs that Richie T – the producer of X96’s popular “Radio from Hell” morning show – will have with RSL players this year.
Check out Wingert’s interview above.
Real Salt Lake will travel to the Windy City this weekend, taking on the Chicago Fire at 6:30 p.m. MT on Saturday night at Toyota Park. Here are a few storylines to watch ahead of the match, which will be broadcast live on CW30.
Rimando again aims for history
After coming agonizingly close last week, RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando will again look to make history on Saturday, needing one more shutout to tie retired ‘keeper Kevin Hartman for the all-time MLS regular season clean-sheet record at 112. Rimando only has two more chances to tie the record before his likely May 14 departure to the U.S. Men’s National Team ahead of this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.
RSL looks to stay unbeaten
It hasn’t always been perfect, but – at 3-0-5 – RSL remains the lone undefeated team in MLS, looking to extend its unbeaten start to nine games against the Fire on Saturday. RSL is currently on a 12-game regular season unbeaten streak dating back to last September, the second-longest regular season unbeaten streak in club history. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, a result on Saturday would make RSL just the eighth team in MLS history to start a season unbeaten in its first nine games.
Just how they drew it up
RSL and Chicago have both drawn quite a bit this year, with the Claret-and-Cobalt tied for second in the league with five draws and Chicago tops in MLS with six ties. Combined, the two clubs have tied an astonishing 11 times in 15 total matches this year. RSL and Chicago have also tied their last two meetings with each other, drawing 1-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium last year and playing to a scoreless draw in May 2012 in Chicago.
As detailed on this very site earlier this week, there are plenty of connections between these two teams, with no less than 10 players, coaches or technical staff members on both sides of the contest having close connections to other city or organization. Some of the most notable connections include current Chicago defender and former RSL man Lovel Palmer, current Chicago/ex-RSL Assistant Coach C.J. Brown and RSL’s Chicago-area natives Ned Grabavoy, Chris Schuler and Garth Lagerwey.
Can RSL improve upon tough history against Chicago?
Real Salt Lake has struggled historically against the Fire, posting a 3-6-7 all-time regular season record – one of RSL’s worst against any team – against Chicago. Given that record, it’s no surprise that RSL hasn’t done all that well in Chicago, posting a 1-4-3 record in the Windy City, with the club’s only win at the Fire coming on July 8, 2010.
MLSsoccer.com's Dan Haiek and Matt Doyle previewed Saturday's Real Salt Lake at Chicago tilt, taking a look at dangerous RSL forward Joao Plata and suspended Chicago forward Qunicy Amarikwa in their Scouting Report video series.
Give the above video a watch before Saturday's 6:30 p.m. MT kick. As always, it's worth the time.