International Preview: Four RSL players to suit up for US v. Mexico tonight
SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake could have up to four players in action for the U.S. Men’s National Team for tonight’s international friendly against Mexico, with Captain Kyle Beckerman, goalkeeper Nick Rimando, midfielder Luis Gil and defender Tony Beltran all on the roster for tonight’s match (9 p.m. MT on ESPN) at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Rimando is the probable starter in net for the U.S. tonight, with Chicago’s Sean Johnson and D.C.’s Bill Hamid likely backing up the Wall of the Wasatch. Barring something unforeseen, Rimando will be on the U.S. roster for this summer’s FIFA World Cup as the third goalkeeper behind Tim Howard and Brad Guzan. Rimando has 13 career caps with the USMNT, posting a perfect 10-0-0 record as a starter. The veteran ‘keeper played the full 90 for the U.S. in its friendly win over Korea Republic on Feb. 1.
Beckerman is also a likely candidate to start against Mexico tonight. The 31-year-old RSL captain has been a regular call-up under U.S. Manager Jurgen Klinsmann, making 10 appearances – including nine starts – for the USMNT in 2013. Beckerman has played a big role in the U.S.’s recent games against Mexico, starting and going the full 90 in the Americans’ friendly win at Estadio Azteca in August 2012 and in the U.S.’s 2-0 World Cup Qualifying win over Mexico in Columbus last September. Like Rimando, Beckerman went the full 90 for the U.S. in its February win over Korea.
It’d be a surprise to see Gil in the starting lineup tonight, with most predicting that the 20-year-old creator will see some minutes as a second half sub. A longtime stalwart on the U.S. Under-20 team, this is just Gil’s second call-up to the full national team. He received his first cap with the senior side in that February win over Korea, coming on for the final 15 minutes in the U.S.’s victory at StubHub Center.
Beltran was a late call-up to this camp, officially added on Sunday morning due to an injury to Seattle’s Brad Evans. While he was a late call-up, Beltran is one of a small number of outside backs on the roster, and could very well see time – either as a starter or off the bench – tonight. The 26-year-old right back has two caps with the USMNT; both of his appearances came in 2013.
Real Salt Lake is the most represented club at this USMNT camp, with the Claret-and-Cobalt’s four players in Phoenix two more than the two sent by Sporting Kansas City, San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders FC, LA Galaxy and D.C. United. RSL has had three players appear in a single USMNT game twice since the start of 2013 – Sporting Kansas City and Club Tijuana are the only other clubs to accomplish that feat, both achieving it once since the start of last year. This is the first time that RSL has ever had four players with a single national team at the same time.
Beckerman, Rimando, Gil and Beltran are all slated to return to Salt Lake City in time for Thursday’s training session. All four players are scheduled to be available for selection for Saturday’s MLS Cup 2013 rematch at Sporting Kansas City.