"Nik continued to improve and be steady for us," said Ellinger. "My confidence in Nik at the end to leave him in when we went to three at the back was justified."
The youngster's good form the past three games is also further justification for Salt Lake selecting him No. 1 overall in 2005, a questionable pick in the eyes of many.
Even though Besagno is still very raw and has much to learn, he's quickly outgrowing the 6-foot height listed on the team's Web site, and he's proving why he was one of the best players at the under-17 residency program prior to going pro. Ellinger was his youth national team coach at the time, and once he was hired as expansion Real Salt Lake's first coach, he immediately began targeting Besagno with the franchise's top pick.
Ellinger never doubted Besagno's potential, but he probably didn't expect him to be contributing so well this early.
While with the residency program, Ellinger coached several defenders who've developed into pros, including Chad Marshall, Oguchi Onyewu, Nelson Akwari and Alex Yi. All four went to college before enjoying success at the next level.At the rate Besagno's going, if he continues to improve, he could be an everyday starter by next season.
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