SANDY — Kyle Beckerman would have been on a plane bound for Belgium Saturday night had U.S. National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann not done Real Salt Lake a favor because of its depleted roster.
RSL's coaching staff is certainly glad the new U.S. boss was so accommodating.
Beckerman had a hand in both of RSL's goals against Philadelphia, scoring in the 18th minute on a fantastic strike and then delivering the corner kick that Chris Schuler headed home in the 26th minute.
"Pretty pleased he was able to stay with us tonight and contribute in such a meaningful fashion tonight for us," said RSL coach Jason Kreis.
After leading RSL to victory Saturday night, Beckerman will hop on a plane today for Europe to prepare of the U.S. National Team's friendly with Belgium on Tuesday.
"It will be great. They're so dialed into soccer over there, papers, TV, everything is soccer, soccer, soccer. I'm really excited to be in that environment. It's a big opportunity for us," said Beckerman.
"It will be a big challenge for us to see if we're improving and that the things that we're trying to work on are really working."
A RARITY: For the first time in nearly five months, striker Paulo Jr. made a meaningful contribution to RSL, making his first start since April 9.
He's dealt with a variety of muscle strains since his last start, but Real Salt Lake is thrilled to have him back as it tries to build momentum toward the playoffs in late October.
Paulo Jr. had gradually been working his way back into the fold with two appearances in RSL's previous three matches. Like the rest of his teammates, it was a below average game for Paulo Jr., but he was credited with an assist on Beckerman's goal.
PAIR OF DEBUTS: Cody Arnoux and Blake Wagner both made their Real Salt Lake debuts on Saturday night. Arnoux replaced Paulo Jr. in the 66th minute and Wagner replaced Robbie Russell in the 93rd minute.
Arnoux joined RSL in the offseason in a weighted MLS player lottery, but he's been out this entire time rehabbing the knee he had surgery on last November. His return to full strength gives RSL even more depth heading into the last two months of the season.
"He's a guy that will give you everything he's got and so I think he came on and did exactly that," said Kreis. "He was dangerous and almost created a couple things for us."
Wagner was signed just a few days after Chris Wingert broke his wrist to provide some much-needed depth at the outside back position.
NICE GESTURE: On Friday night RSL striker Alvaro Saborio played 90 minutes in Costa Rica's 1-0 victory over the United States in California. Under normal circumstances Saborio would have taken the rest of the weekend off to recover.1 comment on this story
Instead, Saborio pleaded with Kreis to let him dress for Saturday's match in case of an emergency substitution need.
Originally Kreis said no chance, but after sleeping on it he obliged.
"He wanted to get back here, he wanted to be with the guys and he wanted to contribute," said Kreis.