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Chris Kamrani
Chris Kamrani covers Real Salt Lake for the Tribune.

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RSL's Kyle Beckerman leading the team in good spirits, too

For a guy with a black eye, midfielder Kyle Beckerman was in pretty good spirits after practice today.

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The veteran captain was among a team full of players whose bright disposition seemed to defy their goal-scoring drought, probably because they both finally extracted a point out of FC Dallas with a scoreless draw last weekend — that's where Beckerman picked up his shiner — and because they still have allowed only two goals in eight Major League Soccer games this season.

Either way, Beckerman put on a fun show in five minutes with reporters after the workout at Xango Field in Lehi.

He was among a seemingly endless parade of players who joked about wanting to play forward amid injuries and absences at that position, though goalkeeper Nick Rimando said he aspired only to the midfield. Beckerman said he was ready to play up top for the first time since high school, and figured coach Jason Kreis is "probably in shape, ready to come back. But he likes the sideline. He likes rockin' the suits. So maybe he'll try me."

Asked about the recovery of injured teammate Javier Morales, he recalled how he endured a similar injury — "not as bad" — when he suffered a broken leg back in 2001, and needed three months to recover. Now, he hardly ever thinks about it, except for when the weather's bad.

"When it rains a little bit, I start to get achy down there," he said.

He said the team is not especially worried about having scored just one in its last four games (five, if you count the Champions League final second leg against Monterrey). The reason? That amazing defense. "When we're not giving up may goals, it's easier to take not scoring," he said. "As long as we can keep up the defense, we believe the offense will eventually come around."

Beckerman also saw Morales today for the first time since Morales was cut down from behind, and said Morales congratulated him on his form in taking free kicks, something he has been practicing quite a bit lately.

Beckerman said he is "trying to become a specialized free-kick taker, and hold it down until Javier gets back," and noted that 10 goals were scored off set pieces in MLS last weekend. He joked about waving off teammate Collen Warner in order to take a corner at FC Dallas — "get out of here," he said, "I got it" — and described the trick to launching an effective free kick.

"It's hard," he said. "But the main thing for set pieces is to whip it in there, as hard as you can. Sting it in there. Defenders don't really have time to react, and if you hit it in a good spot, somebody can get a flick-on. And if you get it on goal, maybe it doesn't even need anything."

And what if he gets good enough at it to rival Morales, when he returns?

"I might get another black eye," he said.



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