Tony Beltran and Steven Lenhart battle for the ball in this 2010 file photo. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
When Tony Beltran turned and fluffed his lines with a too-slow back pass to Nick Rimando, giving Landon Donovan a clear opening to open the scoring for the LA Galaxy on Wednesday night, it would have been easy for his head to drop.
Beltran, though, is a stronger person and player than that, as evidenced by his stronger performance that night after the mistake, including a shot on goal that, on another day, might have seen him grab his first goal of the campaign.
Strong players, though, don't ignore their mistakes, and the 24-year-old right back is no exception.
"I was extremely disappointed in my part, because my teammates deserve better, the fans deserve better," Beltran said after Friday's training session. "(Jason Kreis) demands the best from us, and that certainly wasn't good enough. I have to put the game behind me, atone for my mistake, and continue what I've done up to that."
Likewise, RSL coach Jason Kreis isn't concerned about the single mistake and praised the sort of mentality that Beltran is showing.
"I think the game, for me, came down to some individual errors from players who just don't make those errors," Kreis said. "I think we need to of course be accountable for those errors, not hide away from them."
It isn't as if Tony Beltran wasn't rather pained by the mistake, though, saying that he watched the player over and over and didn't find much sleep.
His full back opposite, Chris Wingert, recognized the one-off mistake as just that: a fluke.
"For the most part, those are just things that just happen once or twice for an individual in their career," Wingert said. "It's the way it goes, unfortunately. It came at a bad time - you hope it comes in a 3-1 win or a 3-2 win, but we let our guard down and they punished us."
Individual mistakes make matches, and for Kreis, the loss was down to that and wasn't down to tactics or a lack of spirit.
"We say, 'OK, back on you go, because if we play you another 99 times, maybe you make that mistake one more time,'" Kreis said. "We believe in our guys. For me, the mentality, the spirit - everything was right about that. (...) For me, it's not about mentality or any of that kind of stuff, it's just individual mistakes."
With matches coming thick and fast, Tony Beltran won't have any time to dwell on his error. He's nearly a lock to start in Saturday's home battle against San Jose.
"It's a battle for first place," Beltran said. "We know San Jose is a very capable team. They're going to go down fighting no matter what. We're going to come in and try to get our home form back."