Kyle Beckerman, Major Leagues Soccer’s all-time leader in fouls committed, is the heart and soul of one the most disciplined soccer team on the face of the planet.
Since his 2007 move from Real Salt Lake’s Rocky Mountain rivals, Colorado Rapids, the 32-year-old has been an ever-present figure for the Claret-and-Cobalt. He’s started over 180 regular season games, scored 23 goals and dished out 29 assists.
Beckerman’s longevity with the club he helped win the MLS cup in 2009 has been a result of the kind of player he is. The defensive midfielder encompasses Salt Lake’s style of play; physical, intelligent, creative and disciplined soccer.
Beckerman acts as the anchor for a team that possesses well-respected veterans like Nick Rimando and Alvaro Saborio. From the first minute of a game to the sound of the final whistle, the captain is always involved. He dissolves oppositions assault aimed at Rimando’s goal, and he starts off an offensive sequence that results in a Saborio tap-in.
Defensively, there is none better than Beckerman in the league. According to squawka.com, the American has 30 interceptions and 30 clearances from nine appearances this season. His numbers make other defensive midfielders in the league look like amateurs.
For instance, Dax McCarty of the New York Red Bulls has played two more games than Beckerman, but only has 17 interceptions and 12 clearances.
Beckerman is also the kind of player any creative midfielder would love to have as a partner. He enjoys running around, battling for the ball against opposing players and has an eye for a dangerous pass. The World Cup hopeful loves to do the dirty work. He sits back absorbs pressure, coordinates the defense and makes the hard tackles.
Beckerman is also the ideal cover man for attacking players. As a result of his presence, Salt Lake is a deadly force on counter-attacks. Real Salt Lake is able to break with six or seven players because the captain provides the needed cover.
Argentine Javier Morales is usually the player who receives all the praise for Salt Lake’s crippling attack, but Beckerman deserves a fair share of praise. He and fellow American, Michael Bradley, are what you could refer to as the Yaya Toure of the MLS.
Just like the Manchester City maestro, Beckerman cherishes been involved offensively. Although he is not blessed with Toure’s offensive repertoire, Beckerman is capable of being a game changer at any given moment.
Because of his willingness to run, the defensive midfielder is usually the player making a late run into an opposing side’s box, and he can also hit a screamer from outside the box. This was evident in the goal he scored earlier this season against San Jose Earthquake. He made a well-timed run from deep to receive a pass which he first timed into the bottom right corner of Jon Busch’s goal.
Due to his superior passing abilities, Beckerman is capable of being a creator of chances. According to whoscored.com, Beckerman attempts 66.6 passes per game and completes 79.6 percent of them. His calmness on the ball makes him a threat of pick out players in dangerous spots.
His ability to hit a long pass also contributes to Salt Lake’s continuous success on counter-attack. Overall, Beckerman’s presence in the middle of the park is what makes the likes of Luis Gil, Morales, Joao Plata better players and why his team is undefeated this season.
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