“There’s a lot riding on this game,” says Real Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman.
He’s talking about the U.S. Soccer national team’s upcoming battle with El Salvador. Both Beckerman and RSL colleague Robbie Findley are on the USA roster for the match, the first time either player has been tapped for a World Cup qualifier. A win for either team, Beckerman notes, would mean they “stand a real good chance to qualify,” for the World Cup. Beckerman describes El Salvador—one of six teams in the qualifying group—as a typical Central American outfit.
“They’re skilful, they work hard and they can be really creative,” he says. When the United States played El Salvador on March 29, 2009, the Central Americans— considered by some commentators as one of the weaker teams in the group—nevertheless dominated the game, leading 2-0 until 18 minutes before the final whistle when the United States managed to snatch two goals to draw. Beckerman shone playing for the United States in the Gold Cup, so his selection for this crucial qualifier isn’t surprising.
Robbie Findley, however, took some pundits by surprise. But Findley’s two-goal explosion at RSL’s 4-0 hammering of Chivas USA on RSL’s home turf on Aug. 26 underscored how dangerous he can be. Beckerman’s on the roster for center midfield, Findley at forward. If both are tapped to play, then Real fans who cheer on their national team will no doubt be, as Beckerman puts it, “loud and supportive” of their hometown boys.