In 2015, Tony Beltran will have to go from RSL regular to RSL veteran, which is more than a meaningless name we give to players who stay for a while. His Desert Diamond Cup campaign showed just how ready for it he really is.
With Rapids bearing down on Real Salt Lake's goal for the better part of 45 minutes after Alvaro Saborio so unwisely got himself sent off, the entire backline was called upon. The flanks were of particular concern, and Tony Beltran managed his side with expertise (although it should be noted that Abdoulie Mansally was quite good himself on the left, too.)
His attacking moments were perhaps even better, though. He got forward with aplomb, he dribbled out of danger, and he showed he's not afraid to take a trick or two and spin them to good effect.
When he wasn't on the ball — and he was on the ball quite a bit — he was defending quite well on his side, never leaving too much space for his mark and helping Luis Gil defend intelligently. That gets marks all on its own.
- Javier Morales, for his willingness to hold back on his attacking instincts. Oh, and that free kick.
- Kyle Beckerman for not getting sent off when it would've bee easy to.
- Alvaro Saborio for not kicking over the Desert Diamond Cup trophy when he walked by after getting sent off.