SALT LAKE CITY— Two of the faces of the Real Salt Lake franchise returned Wednesday from an exciting stay with the U.S. national team, which capped off an impressive run in CONCACAF qualifying by officially punching its ticket to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando were greeted by fans and members of the media Wednesday afternoon at the Salt Lake International Airport, a day after helping the USMNT defeat rival Mexico 2-0 in Columbus, Ohio.
Rimando and Beckerman both suited up for Tuesday’s clash against El Tri, and U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann started and played Beckerman for 90 minutes in the Americans' big win.
“Awesome. To do it against our biggest rivals, and qualify on the same night is an amazing feeling,” said Beckerman, who claimed that Tuesday’s victory gave the team some much-needed relief. “A lot of relief. None of us wanted to go into the last two games the first game in Panama and then coming home against a Jamaican team that is playing for pride. To get it done was important for us. Now we get to relax and look forward to Brazil, and not have any worries going into the end.”
Many pundits said that Beckerman had a great showing Tuesday night, furthering his consideration for one of the 23 spots on Klinsmann’s 2014 World Cup roster. Beckerman played it cool, though, suggesting there’s still a ways to go until Brazil.
“I never feel like it's cemented,” said Beckerman. “The team is always a work in progress, and so much can happen. You’ve got to stay ready, stay healthy and keep playing good soccer. That’s all you can do until the end.”
Rimando, who is also a valid candidate for a World Cup spot, spoke highly of Beckerman’s outing Tuesday.
“As you saw, Kyle put a good performance last night and Klinsmann had a lot of confidence in Kyle to put him on the field to do his job,” said the RSL 'keeper. “Every time we’ve gone to camp there’s an opportunity to show your skills, and I think Kyle again showed why he deserves to be on the roster.”
Beckerman and Rimando will train with the team Thursday before departing to Seattle for the top of the table clash. Friday's kickoff is 8 p.m. at CenturyLink Field. Follow Conner on Twitter: The Conner88
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