As Real Salt Lake defeated lower-division side FC Tucson in the second match of the Desert Diamond Cup, quite a few players performed and showed very well.
Among those — and because we had to pick somebody and not just the team — was Tony Beltran, one of the most veteran players at Real Salt Lake, at least outside the Beckerman-Rimando-Morales trio.
Throughout the match, Beltran was attacking and defending very well. It is only preseason, of course, and there were some shaky moments from basically every player, but he exhibited what it is he does so well. His passing was clean and crisp, and his crosses — while not perfect — looked improved. But his crossing wasn't the theme — it was instead his simple passes back across the face of the box as RSL pushed play back centrally to create opportunities. Those moments were key for Real Salt Lake.
He formed a very good partnership with Sebastian Jaime on the left side, and he was at the center of a lot of good attacks involving Jaime and others.
Beltran may not be a new guy, and it's often harder to look impressive when someone like Demar Phillips is bombing up and down the left side with effectiveness and frequency. But Beltran impressed me most because he showed that veteran ability that we'll need from him in 2015. Oh, and his play was fantastic. That, too.