After making 17 appearances (seven of them starts) and scoring one goal for RSL, Nick Besler’s season was cut short on August 10 when he suffered a broken foot in RSL’s 2-1 win on the road against Sporting Kansas City. Unfortunately, he never made it back on the field after that injury.
The fact that RSL decided to exercise Besler’s option for 2020, though, proves that they have plans for him in the future. With Kyle Beckerman’s return still up in the air, he would most likely be the next in line to take over as the starting holding midfielder alongside Everton Luiz, should Freddy Juarez stick with a formation that calls for two defensive mids.
Besler had a good year in 2018 under Mike Petke as well, making 22 appearances with 15 starts, although a number of those came at the center back position when injuries plagued the preferred starters.
Having had more of a chance to start in the midfield, Besler really seemed to step up his game in hopes of earning that next-in-line spot. With the season-ending injury, of course, it leaves things with somewhat of a question mark for the 26-year-old Kansas native.
Besler fought his way through the ranks to get to where he is today. Drafted by the Portland Timbers in 2015, he never saw a minute on the field with the first team in MLS play as he spent all of his time with their USL side Timbers 2, making 50 appearances for the club. After making the move to the Real Monarchs at the beginning of 2017, Besler made the leap to the first team, signing a contract with RSL near the end of August that very same year.
He wouldn't see any MLS playing time with RSL until 2018, but quickly made his mark once he spent time on the field.
Given the current roster, with Damir Kreilach playing forward more often than CDM and Beckerman unsure of what his future holds, it sounds like Nick Besler will be the guy attempting to fill Kyle’s shoes sometime in the foreseeable future.