As Saturday's heart wrenching trouncing by the New England Revolution gave Real Salt Lake the first taste of utter domination by the opposition, it seemed like the perfect time to evaluate Kyle Beckerman's performance under the statistical microscope.
The Revs' offense was in devastating form Saturday night savagely cutting apart the visiting Claret-and-Cobalt. RSL looked to control the match early winning the lion's share of the possession in the first five minutes but then the in sync New England took over the match.
Thought the Claret-and-Cobalt fell in agonizing fashion to the Revs, losing four to nil, Beckerman repeatedly drew applauds. Looking at his performance throughout the match it was clear that the skipper had been nearly everywhere on the pitch, just take a look:
In other words, he was really, really good putting in more than his fair share of the work on either side of the ball.
Defensive off-the-ball plays
Against New England, Beckerman played centrally in a diamond midfield. Playing the role as a true number six, Beckerman got credit for a defensive play every time he prevented a Revs' offensive move. He was responsible to keeping New England to only four shots on goal in the first half coming up with two huge clearances in the seventh and sixteenth minutes in addition to another one in the sixty-seventh minute.
Throughout the match, Beckerman lead the Claret-and-Cobalt in recoveries and interceptions. He came up with some huge plays for RSL stopping a combined total of 15 different New England offensives. Winning the ball under duress and playing it to an unmarked player is a particular attribute of the match in which Beckerman did quite well.
In all, Beckerman lead his side with 21 defensive actions on the night. He was able to tally a single block and two successful tackles in addition to the other actions already discussed. Interestingly enough, Beckerman rang up more than a tidy sum in this category - even more so than a defensive midfield would normally - and can been seen just below:
Beckerman put in a splendid off the ball performance. Achieving a plus-6 turnover ratio and making smart runs helped his side not concede more. On the other hand, while Beckerman did commit four fouls (and was lucky not to see at least one yellow card), he did manage to put his club in danger once with an opposition free-kick won just outside his 18 yard box in the 65th minute. Other than that, however, he never allowed himself to be directly pulled out of position.
On the ball
As is often the case, the skipper was the most proficient man for his side in terms of possession. Beckerman completed 44 of 53 passes helping him maintain the third highest passing percentage on the Claret-and-Cobalt playing at least one hundred more minutes than his teammates in front of him - namely Jamison Olave and Javier Morales. Still, an 83 percent success rate says a lot about his propensity to care for the ball.
Beckerman remained consistent throughout the match, missing only two pairs of consecutive passes. Beckerman improved as the match wound on, completing 28 passes in the second frame to only 15 in the first. His 81 overall percent completion rate in the attacking half was especially impressive considering he managed to take the Revs defensive midfield pivoting-pair of Andy Dorman and Scott Caldwell out of the run of play.
During the physical matchup throughout the game, Beckerman used his skill to calmly dispense the ball and drift into open spaces despite being under some intense pressure. His ability to draw the foul allowed his side to retain the ball under the high pressure of New England. For a guy patrolling the center of the pitch, Beckerman simply did not allow himself to cheaply give away the ball despite the constant harassment.
In the attack
Although not shy to shoot when following up the run of play, Beckerman found himself on the back foot in this match and did not manage to find a single chance to work New England goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth. Still, this did not prevent Beckerman from attempting to create offense. He attempted two crosses but, unfortunately, he failed to time the pass just at the right time and both missed their mark.
Beckerman did manage to connect on two long balls deep into the offensive third which is nothing strange for him but nothing came of them. What is strange, however, is that Beckerman did not tally or even attempt a single through ball. One of his two earned free-kicks gave the Claret-and-Cobalt a dangerous, quick restart in the 78th minute but Demar Phillips skied the ensuing chance.
Combining his offensive and defensive numbers, Beckerman put up a splendid performance. Simply computing his plus-six turnover ratio (forced minus conceded) is enough to demonstrate that he was one of the best players on the pitch that night - for either side. His New England showing is just another glowing score for the midfielder.
Even after such a devastating loss, the club and the fans can take heart in knowing that skipper Kyle Beckerman has yet to lose a step in his play - for this league or the national team.
What do you think? Do you think that Beckerman was one of the bright lights for RSL on Saturday? How would you rate his performance? Are their other aspects of his game that we forgot to mention? Share your opinions or questions in the comments section below.