SANDY — Real Salt Lake defender Tony Beltran is using his latest call-up with the U.S. national team for exactly the right reason — motivation.
“I think the biggest thing for me is that it's so motivating. I'm motivated already, but getting called up raises my desire to work harder because it’s such an addicting feeling,” Beltran said. “It's another incentive to work harder, to get better, to get back there, and to come back and be sharper for my teammates and try to make more of an impact here at RSL. Like anything, you have to use it as motivation.”
Beltran, a main component of RSL's back line, finds himself among a handful of U.S. players who are either contenders or front-runners for spots on Jurgen Klinsmann’s team at the World Cup.
Klinsmann hasn't announced the U.S.'s World Cup roster yet — neither have other nations — but it’s likely that RSL will lose a slew of players for the World Cup in Brazil. As a result, Salt Lake will once again attempt to rely on its much-heralded depth to overcome the losses.
PROPS TO PORTLAND: There’s a rivalry blossoming between RSL and Portland, and it’s a classy one to say the least.
No social media banter, no back-and-forth smack talk — just great soccer.
“The games we've played them in have been emotionally charged, because there has been so much at stake,” said Beltran, highlighting RSL's 2-1 U.S. Open Cup semifinal victory over Portland and a decisive 4-0 aggregate victory over the Timbers in the Western Conference championship series last season. “It is a really good rivalry. It's two good teams who like to play soccer, and who are pretty evenly matched. We came out on top last year, but that's no guarantee this year.
“We had a good record against them last year, but each game was an absolute battle."
The winless Timbers (0-2-4) visit Rio Tinto Stadium this Saturday.
SALCEDO GETS U-21 CALL: RSL defender Carlos Salcedo got some welcoming news this week: The Mexican U-21 national team gave the player his first international call-up.
“It’s always exciting to represent your country, and this is a very big camp for me,” said Salcedo. “I’m just really excited to show the coaching staff how much I’ve developed since I came to Real Salt Lake, and how much my game has grown in MLS.”
Salcedo became the fourth RSL player to be called to a youth national team in the last month.
Follow Conner on Twitter: TheConner88
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company