SANDY, Utah – When you look at the body of Real Salt Lake’s dynamite run of form of late – six wins in their last eight after Saturday night’s 2-0 victory over Seattle – it’s impossible to look past Kyle Beckerman.
On Saturday night, RSL again took their cues from their leader in dispatching the Sounders.
"He won everything," defender Nat Borchers told reporters after the win. "He was on the right side winning balls; he was on the left side winning balls. He was always in the right spots and always composed on the ball. When you have a guy like that, a leader like that who brings his 'A' game, we're not going to lose games."
At times, there seemed to be two or even three Beckermans on the pitch. He never allowed the Sounders midfield to get comfortable on the ball, and his pressure made it tough for Seattle to get it to their forwards.
Beckerman led all players Saturday night with seven interceptions and 15 recoveries, according to Opta. The dreadlocked 31-year-old shared a little of his method for so much success.
"I think you just try to look to see where they are looking, where their body is shaping up," he told reporters. "You try to almost tease them a little bit to try and think there is a spot that's open and then you close it as he looks down. It's just part of the position."
As if that weren’t enough, he also netted his second goal of the MLS season. That came in the 40th minute, when Javier Morales’ free kick ricocheted off the Seattle wall and fell to Beckerman at the far post, who side-volleyed it past Michael Gspurning.
“He had an outstanding finish on a goal,” head coach Jason Kreis said in his postgame press conference. “That is not an easy strike to take and he took it extremely calmly and well."
With Saturday night’s victory, RSL also now sit atop the MLS table with a one-point lead in the Supporters’ Shield race. With Beckerman the driving force, the Claret-and-Cobalt like their chances.
"I’ve been here six years and I can't remember if he's had a bad game in the time I've been here,” defender Tony Beltran told MLSsoccer.com. … “He's got one heck of an engine and it doesn't seem like it is going to run out.”