Filling the gap left behind when Kyle Beckerman leaves for the U.S. National Team is never an easy task. However, Real Salt Lake’s Luke Mulholland is doing his best to jump over to a different midfield role and play that holding midfield spot down while the captain is away on international duty.
“It’s a huge adjustment,” Mulholland said in an appearance on The Bill & OC Show on Thursday. “Kyle is one of the best players in the world for me that does that position. He’s very disciplined and plays to his strengths. I’m just working hard to fill in the big boots that Becks has left for me to fill.”
Beckerman is in the midst of a run with the U.S. National Team at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, where the U.S. will take on Haiti on Friday night at 6:30 p.m. MT (FOX Sports 1). In his absence, Mulholland has been asked to slide from a box-to-box connector in the midfield that can occasionally pop up and contribute on the score sheet to a strictly defensive role behind Luis Gil and Javier Morales.
For a player that earned Best XI honors in the USL and NASL prior to joining RSL in 2014 and proved that his skillset can translate by contributing six goals and seven assists in his first MLS campaign, the shift to a defensive role could pose a challenge. Against Orlando City SC last week, he did more than hold his own in that position though.
“For him to be playing kind of a different position for him, I think he’s done fantastic,” RSL Head Coach Jeff Cassar said this week. “We’re able to keep possession of the ball. Luke has several different ranges of passes, which is key from that point whether it’s short combinations or being able to switch the field. But defensively is where he’s really done a good job for us. He’s an intelligent player, he’s experienced. He’s won some championships in the NASL. I think he’s done a really good job for us.”
For Mulholland, he doesn’t care what role he is put in. As long as he can be on the field and help contribute to the club’s success, he’s happy to do his part.
“I’m enjoying just being on the field,” Mulholland said in the radio interview. “I’m just trying to do the best I can until Kyle gets back and then once he gets back, I’ll carry on building my relationship with him in the midfield.”
RSL takes on the Colorado Rapids on Saturday at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in the second match of the Rocky Mountain Cup. Beckerman missed the first match while away on international duty and it ended in a 0-0 draw at Rio Tinto Stadium.
To hear the full interview, click here.