In a World Cup 2014 cycle where everything was not what it seemed--including this stunning early announcement --Real Salt Lake was fortunate to have two players make the 23-man U.S. World Cup team on Thursday, May 22.
It will go down in American sporting history as the day that Landon Donovan and his dreams of a fourth straight World Cup died--if only because he was cut and at the moment will not compete. Even U.S. soccer coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s idiot son Jonathan thought it was just dessert for arguably the greatest player America has ever produced to stay home.
Landon Donovan gobbled up all the headlines on Thursday, but on the local front it was all about Beckerman and Rimando, two players from Real Salt Lake who will take slightly different paths in Brazil.
First off, Rimando will probably never see the field. He is the third-string goalkeeper behind Tim Howard and Brad Guzan and frankly, he’ll get about as much playing time in Brazil as Donovan--or, none.
At least Rimando made the team, right? He will be the last among the 23 to complain about his lot in World Cup life--but don't be surprised if he plays in at least one of the friendlies leading up to the big event.
The same cannot be said for Kyle Beckerman, who not only figures into the U.S. plans for its upcoming friendly matches against Azerbaijan and Turkey--he’ll probably play significant minutes at the World Cup as the Americans’ holding midfielder du jour now that Maurice Edu is no longer in the picture.
For Rimando and Beckerman, it is their first World Cup experience and they should lap it up for all the right reasons. Real Salt Lake general manager Garth Lagerwey summed up the feelings of all RSL fans when he talked about their long journey to get to this point.
“We are absolutely thrilled for Kyle and Nick to both be named to the U.S. World Cup team,” Lagerwey said in a press release. “Both of them have worked their entire careers for this richly deserved opportunity and we wish them all the best in Brazil as they represent our club and our country at the World Cup. The U.S. team carries the hopes and dreams of our soccer nation with them this summer, and we wish the entire group well as they look to continue to advance our sport and our league here at home.”