Well on a bit of short notice MLS pulled together some media folks and a couple of bodies from each side of the Western Conference final for a conference call. First up were RSL GM Garth Lagerwey & RSL midfielder Kyle Beckerman.
Overall Garth was still tight lipped about the status of Jamison Olave and Nat Borchers, both will travel with the team and likely be game time decisions. He did mention that both would be getting around the clock medical care, he expressed confidence in the RSL backline that played on Wednesday for weathering a tough storm and expected that if they had to go again that playing in such a high pressure match already would be a huge benefit for the team. Garth spoke of the different ways the teams have been built, but recognized that at their cores they are built similarly and both side have had their key players together for a couple years.
Both Garth and Kyle mentioned how evenly matched these teams are, Kyle focused that RSL will need to get off to a quick start and need to play their short passing and possession game in the midfield to limit the LA offense. Kyle talked about how much difference there was between the first and second legs of their series with Seattle, and clearly the team would prefer to play the style they did at Rio Tinto and not be forced on their heels like they were in Seattle.
I asked both of them about Yordany Alvarez, and both paid him high compliments for getting up to speed quickly and being able to add depth that was needed. Kyle mentioned how the RSL locker room is great at making new players feel welcomed to the team. Garth mentioned the importance of the late season pickups over the last couple years with Paulo Jr. and now with Yordany, and how the MVP of the USL this year was able to make the jump to MLS quickly to help RSL deal with Kyle's national team duties, suspension as well the injury to Ned Grabavoy.
more after the jump:
I thought it was interesting to hear Kyle speak about his time with the US-U17 team with Landon Donovan and how this brash young kid came into the team talking about how many goals he was going to score and how he lived up to that bragging and became a important part of that group. How it was Landon who make the first big splash in the pro ranks and was able to go play in Europe.
I was going to ask how it is to be fierce opponents on Sunday and then teammates with the USMNT against France on Friday, but Kyle had travelling to do.
The call then switched to Bruce Arena and Robbie Keane who I thought provided a couple bits of insight that were great. First up was the reality that Robbie is so new to MLS that Bruce said he didn't think he would know a single play on the RSL roster, I doubt that but I think he probably doesn't know much about RSL but that will change.
Bruce went on to say that he believes both Nat Borchers and Jamison Olave will play in the match and that LA has been practicing based on that, if they don't he said he didn't see much drop off in the RSL match on Wednesday when it came to the play of the backline, that they were still a very good group.
Perhaps the biggest answer was to the question of did David Beckham have a concussion and did he practice on Friday, Bruce in his unique way simply said "No", and when asked for clarification, he said it again "No" which I believe meant no concussion and no he didn't practice on Friday.
Robbie was asked what he thought of the playoffs, and he responded that they haven't really been any different than other tournaments he has played in, of course that will change now that the finals are a one and done affair.
Well those were the highlights of the call.
OFF MY SOAPBOX