LEHI, Utah — Real Salt Lake were rewarded for this season's success on Tuesday when it was announced that three of their players were named to the MLS All-Star First XI team. Midfielders Kyle Beckerman and Javier Morales, as well as defender Jamison Olave, were among the first players selected to play Manchester United in the league's summer classic in Houston on July 28.
RSL head coach Jason Kreis was happy for his selected players, and he said he feels it's a reflection of the team's success.
"We said quite a few years ago to the guys that we were wanting to build a team and create stars out of success for the team," Kreis said. "To have three All-Stars named is some vindication for that plan.”
Beckerman and Morales return to the All-Star roster having been selected last year as the commissioner's picks when the event took place on their home turf at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Morales said this year's selection was a little more rewarding, given he made the First XI. He’s also had some thoughts about the All-Star's opponents, Manchester United.
“They are a good team – they are one of the best teams in the world,” he said. “Someday I will tell my son that I played against Manchester United.”
Beckerman was pleased with the selection, if not a little surprised. However, he understands why he was given the nod.
“Yeah, I was a little bit [surprised about the selection]," he said. "I think I missed six games or so out of the 15. … I think it always helps when your team’s doing well. From winning [MLS Cup] last year, we’re known as a good team.”
A league newcomer, Olave seemed humble and appreciative of his inclusion.
“I am really happy for this," he said. "I’ve been working for this. It’s good—it’s unbelievable. … I never thought that I would play one day [against Manchester United], and I now have the opportunity.”
However, their was one omission from the First XI that caught Kreis' attention. Goalkeeper Nick Rimando, who trails First XI selection Donovan Ricketts slightly in the goals-against average stat, didn't make the cut.
“I’ll be disappointed for him because I think he’s earned it," Kreis said. "I think a lot of people should have fresh recollections of what he did for us at the end of last season, snd he’s carried that over, in my eyes, to this season by playing even better than he was at the end of last season. So for me he deserves it.”
Rimando still has a chance of featuring in the summer classic, though. The complete All-Star roster will consist of 23 players, and the Galaxy's Ricketts will likely not go the full 90 minutes against Manchester United as he has a CONCACAF Champions League game schedule for the night before.