In 2007, Jason Kreis would begin to build what would become a dominant force in the world of American soccer. With one of the best defenses in MLS history, a formation that few teams could adjust to, and player chemistries that developed beyond expectations, Real Salt Lake played with something special. "The Team is the Star" really did embody the club.
Ten years later, the house Kreis built is now a shell. The legends that are still here, but how long will they remain in a RSL uniform? Beckerman had another great year as captain and finally started seeing his name on the score sheet again, Rimando is the greatest goalkeeper in MLS history, and once again Wingert is quietly the most useful defender I've seen play for our club. But, with all being currently out-of-contract I can hear a death rattle in the distance.
Beckerman never did impress me when he was at a full sprint back towards our own goal. It was awkward to watch, and it didn't seem to matter much. He masked his lack of speed by using his positioning and knowledge of the game. Now with his aging legs, opposing teams only need to overload Beckerman with a couple players in front of where he sits and they are in on a counter attack.
With the formation we've starting playing under Petke, there should be a Sunny or a Mulholland nearby to help with this kind of situation, but Sunny is often off closing down the back of an opposing pair of ankles to foul rather than operating from alongside Beckerman. Luke does better in supporting Beckerman with his hard work and effort, but he's at his best little higher assisting Rusnak in support of the attack.
Beckerman will always have amazing attributes on the field. His grit, discipline, positioning, vision, and that crisp passing will be remembered for years to come. Though, he will not always have that stamina. How he distributes his sprinting has got to be part of his game at the age 35. His dreads are gone; is his stamina gone with them?
Rimando is a man with big ambitions. He wouldn't have been have as successful as he has in his life if wasn't. But, with rumors last year that he could've been on his way out, I have a hard time feeling totally confident that we will see him next year in RSL colors. Rimando is from Southern California and with LAFC shopping for players this off season it makes sense that there's a possibility for a home coming. Why not return home to finish out your career?
These are my own thoughts, so take them with a grain of salt. I do think we true believers really need to think about and consider what happens when the last of the old guard are gone. Who has put in the blood and sweat and earned the respect to take the helm?
We are at a very exciting time in our club’s history. We're finally starting to see the change we all wanted to see. I get chills when I think about what those boys in red are capable of accomplishing. Our team is stacked with blossoming talent and I want to see a true dynasty that Kreis never gave us. We can be that good.