Saturday marked another start, and another step into unprecedented territory in MLS history, for Kyle Beckerman.
Real Salt Lake's midfield metronome notched his 402nd MLS regular-season appearance in RSL's 1-0 loss to Houston at Rio Tinto Stadium, pushing him further ahead of the pack among field players and keeping him on pace with the league's all-time leader in appearances – his teammate Nick Rimando.
“KB5” is already the all-time leader in both games played and games started (regular-season) among field players, having passed retired great Steve Ralston in both categories over the past year. Only two players are ahead of him, both goalkeepers: Rimando and Kevin Hartman, who retired in 2013. Beckerman also boasts the career MLS record for fouls committed at 604, a mark miles ahead of the rest of the field.
Rimando passed Hartman on the all-time games list last month and currently stands at 420 games played, all starts.
Beckerman is the only field player in MLS history to reach 400 games played (373 of them starts), and he reached that milestone in memorable fashion earlier this month. The 34-year-old flew back to Salt Lake City from the US national team's 4-0 World Cup qualifying win over Trinidad & Tobago in Jacksonville, Florida on Sept. 6, just in time to start for RSL against the LA Galaxy the very next day, completing 85 percent of his 70 passes in a wild 3-3 draw.
The closest active field players to Beckerman's unprecedented number of career appearances: Sporting KC's Brad Davis at 391 appearances (339 starts), followed by Philadelphia's Brian Carroll at 378 (372 starts), D.C. United's Bobby Boswell (351 games, 346 of them starts) and Portland's Jack Jewsbury (348 games, 277 starts), who just announced his intention to retire at the end of the current season.