SANDY, Utah — Despite not leaving the bench in the USA’s 1-0 win over Honduras on Tuesday night at his club home, Rio Tinto Stadium, Real Salt Lake captain Kyle Beckerman said it was a great experience to be a part of the success and to show the rest of the team just how playing soccer on the Wasatch Front can be.
“A lot of the guys were surprised about the weather, the mountains and everything,” said Beckerman about coming to Utah and showcasing the place he calls home. “Nick [Rimando] and I reassured them, the other guys that play on other MLS teams, that we would all be one team and the crowd would get behind them. I think they saw that as soon as they started warming up.”
In particular, the experience was unique for Brad Evans and Eddie Johnson, two members of the US squad and the Seattle Sounders, who play again at Rio Tinto this Saturday (9:30 pm ET, MLS Stream of the Week).
The duo played to rousing support and cheers on Tuesday, but they won't get quite the same reception when they face RSL — and Johnson knows it.
“The fans in Utah were amazing tonight thanks for being behind us from minute 1 to 90. Hope your nice to me in a few days,” he posted on his Twitter account.
The fans in Utah were amazing tonight thanks for being behind us from minute 1 to 90. Hope your nice to me in a few days #wishfulthinking— Eddie Johnson (@eddie_johnson7) June 19, 2013
Beckerman said that for the players themselves, it is not too hard to go from teammates to opponents.
“It seems like this is the second time we play Seattle right after a camp,” he told MLSsoccer.com, referring to the Sounders-RSL match that took place shortly after a USMNT World Cup qualifier last October. "It will be interesting. We’re friendly going into the game, and then we’ll stop being friends for 90 minutes, and then we’ll become friends again. It is good to compete against those guys, joke around with them on the field.
“Hopefully, we can get one over on them so when we see them again, we can let them know about it.”
Beckerman said that while it was nice to be with the national team in his home city, he is excited to be back with Real and they are ready to continue on their terrific run of play — they are 7-1-1 in all competitions in their last nine games.
“We are ready to jump back in and continue playing good soccer,” Beckerman said.
Michael Black covers Real Salt Lake for MLSsoccer.com.