SANDY — The 90 minutes Kyle Beckerman spent high above Rio Tinto Stadium's field Wednesday night had to have been some of the most agonizing of his soccer career.
"It was no fun, that's for sure," said Beckerman, who couldn't play in this match after receiving a suspension-resulting second yellow card last week. "Definitely wanted to be out there, but nothing I could do. I thought the guys did a great job. We just ran out of time."
No offense to Beckerman's replacement, Ned Grabavoy, but RSL coach Jason Kreis ended up agonizing the fact that the team captain spent this CONCACAF championship in a box instead of on the field as well.
Asked after his team's 1-0 loss, which resulted in Monterrey winning all of the CCL marbles, Kreis quickly responded: "I do. I do."
There's a reason, after all, why Beckerman is RSL's designated on-field leader.
"Kyle's an extremely important player — not only with how many defensive plays he makes for us but how active he is in our possession," Kreis said. "And I felt like we were missing that little bit of energy when we had the ball — just in those minutes."
Those minutes Kreis referred to were a 15-minute stretch between the 30th minute and right before halftime when Monterrey forward Humberto Suazo put the only goal of the night into the net.
Kreis was disappointed in the "movement in the midfield" during that decisive period. He didn't like how Monterrey passed between midfielders en route to the game-winning attack.
Even so, Kreis didn't throw Grabavoy under the bus.
Usually an outside midfielder, Grabavoy handled Beckerman's defense midfielder responsibilities quite nicely to begin the match. Early on, he was very successful in disrupting Monterrey's progress and fared well at clogging up passing lanes.
Grabavoy did, however, dive and miss the ball, opening up an opportunity for Monterrey in the 38th minute. But that didn't pan out for the visitors after a shot on goal soared high.
"He had a pretty decent night. He did a very admirable job," Kreis said of Grabavoy. "He hasn't played in that position since last year, so it was a difficult, difficult task for him, but I thought he did a pretty admirable job."
Beckerman, sporting an RSL-hued red tie, joined his team on the field after the match and was the first on the stand to receive his second-place medal.
Now, RSL can only wonder what-if Beckerman hadn't received that controversial second yellow in Mexico.
"Kyle's a special player for us," Kreis added. "He wears the captain band for a reason."
PROPS TO RSL: Eric Wynalda, a former U.S. National Teamer and current studio analyst for Fox Soccer Channel, always believed an MLS team was capable of what Real Salt Lake nearly accomplished.
"Maybe I'm a bit outlandish, but this is kind of why a lot of us came back to start a league that would have the potential to field a team in that kind of spotlight," Wynalda said. "It does say a lot about all of the work that everyone puts into Major League Soccer."
Even though Real Salt Lake lost to Monterrey, Wynalda said the club had already made a huge impact on MLS.
"The way they play and the way they've been put together by (RSL owner) Dave Checketts, hopefully more clubs in Major League Soccer will take that model and say that's how you build a successful team that's going to have the opportunity to win trophies like this," Wynalda said.
He also hopes the success of Kreis, one of four American coaches, might encourage more MLS owners to look within the States when hiring.
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