Beckerman suspension leaves question for RSL
LEHI, Utah – The biggest question surrounding the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League finals at Rio Tinto Stadium still doesn’t have an answer: Who will fill in for Kyle Beckerman?
With the Real Salt Lake captain and star holding midfielder facing a one-game suspension against Monterrey in Wednesday's crucial CCL-deciding match (10 pm ET, Fox Soccer), candidates like Will Johnson, Ned Grabavoy and Jean Alexandre will all make their case as kickoff looms.
“Whoever steps up for Kyle has big shoes to fill,” Johnson said. “But we’ve got a lot of big personalities on this team, and I think we’ll be OK.”
But who is the most likely candidate? History points to Grabavoy, who stepped in for Beckerman for four matches while the captain missed seven games last season with a foot injury. RSL went unbeaten (3-0-1) with Grabavoy in the mix.
But there’s also a case to be made for Alexandre, the Haiti native who appeared in 15 regular-season games last season, including three in Beckerman’s traditional spot in the midfield. The club went 1-1-1 with Alexandre holding down the fort while their captain was shelved with injury.
“Whoever is there is going to have to play simple, connect the team and, at the same time, be that guy in front of the back four that’s picking up those late runners,” Grabavoy said.
Johnson believes that no matter whom the fill-in will be the team can find success without their captain.
"The guys who step in have been here for three years as well,” Johnson said. “And we all know each other really well, so I think it will be doable for sure.”