For Real Salt Lake’s Kyle Beckerman, Wednesday’s outing against Mexico didn’t represent just another cap with the US national team. It signified a brand-new opportunity to establish himself as a regular contributor for new coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
So his full 93-minute contribution — which was generally considered solid — was an important development for this potential renaissance of his national-team career.
“It felt great,” Beckerman told MLSsoccer.com by phone after training in Toronto ahead of Saturday’s matchup against the Reds (7 pm ET, watch LIVE online). “I feel like I’m always going to give you an honest shift, give you everything I’ve got and try to help in any way. The second half felt better than the first, but it’s always good to play for the country and get a result.”
Beckerman also indicated that his role for the match was clearly defined ahead of time.
"[The US staff] thought it was something really important against this Mexican team, to be that safety net in front of the back four," he told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday night in Philadelphia after the 1-1 draw. "When it's for the national team or any team, I'm going to do what the coach asks me and try and do it to the best of my abilty. Tonight, they asked me to do that, and that's fine with me. Anything to get on the field."
Beckerman also responded to the one criticism that’s been put out there about his performance against Mexico: his ability to get the ball off his feet quickly.
“That’s usually not something that’s a problem with me, getting the ball of my feet,” the RSL captain said Friday. "I’m usually a quick one-two touch player. It’s not going to be a problem to match that speed of play. In that particular game, I think it’s a factor of you defending for quite a while, and our movement off the ball isn’t going to be as quick and sharp as it would normally be.”
For RSL general manager Garth Lagerwey it was refreshing to see arguably his most important player back in a US jersey again. Lagerwey says the club is completely supportive of Beckerman's refreshed international career.
“I thought he was good,” said Lagerwey. “We want our players to do well, and we’re going to take the view that in the long run our club will be better off for having more players in big games and the experience that they will get from that. One of our core organizational philosophies is that we’re going to do what’s best for our players and organization long-term, and if there are short-term consequences, then we’ll live with those.”
But was the performance enough to make an impression with Klinsmann?
“That’s a question that we’ll have to wait and see if it happens — more for the coaching staff,” said Beckerman. “But I hope so.”