A day after returning from World Cup, Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando lead Real Salt Lake to victory
Oh, RSL got a much-needed, 2-1 win over New England. And Beckerman and Rimando, who returned to Utah from Brazil on Thursday after a month-and-a-half with the U.S. Men's National Team, surprised a lot of people by starting and playing all 90 minutes.
But that was not the plan.
“We were hoping for, like, a 3-0 win,” Beckerman told reporters, with an eye toward being subbed out “around the 60th minute.”
“But I told [RSL Coach Jeff Cassar] I'd be ready for 90 minutes if I had to go.”
The coach was not expecting his team captain or his No. 1 goalkeeper to be on the field against the Revolution. A day before the pair landed in Salt Lake City, he said the two would “probably not” see action.
“When I was saying that, I was hoping for one thing,” Cassar told reporters. “My heart was telling me another thing. My gut was telling me another thing. But once I talked to both of them and was able to hear their voices and feel that they wanted to be [in the game] — not that they had to be — it was a no-brainer.”
Rimando told reporters that when he spoke to Cassar on a layover in Atlanta, “His first words to me were, 'There's no pressure at all to play. And my answer to him was, 'I'll let you know when I land.'”
He said he “felt great” when he landed in Salt Lake City on Thursday afternoon and the decision was made on Friday morning to play.
“I think Jeff wanted us to go,” Beckerman said. “And we've been gone for a while. We missed the guys. We missed playing in front of our home crowd. That was a big part of it – we wanted to get back out there.”
“We pretty much had the same mindset going into this game — we wanted to play, We passed that on to Jeff.”
Beckerman started and played every minute of the USMNT's three group-stage games in Brazil before he was inexplicably left out of the lineup in the loss to Belgium.
“I was surprised,” he said, “and disappointed that I wasn't able to be out there and help the team. I guess the biggest thing I could do was just try to be a positive part of the team. You can't pout.”
Rimando, on the other hand, was the No. 3 goalkeeper and didn't ever get on the field during a game.
“For me, I haven't played a game for a while. I had a different role down there,” he said. “I wanted to get back. I was itching to get on the field.”
Although both men admitted to some reservations about the quick turn-around.
“It was definitely a first,” Beckerman said. “I've never taken an overnight flight on Wednesday, get in Thursday and have a game Friday. I didn't really know how I was feeling.”
Except that, maybe, he wanted RSL to get a big lead so he could be subbed off at about the 60th minute.
“That was the plan,” Cassar confirmed. “That was definitely the plan.”