Sandy • Try as he might to maintain his cool, Real Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman could not stop the smiles as he described Wednesday's U.S. National Team's 1-0 victory at Mexico — its first-ever win there in 75 years of trying.
" I have the newspaper clippings from Mexico and saved that," said Beckerman, who played 90-plus minutes. "I was really happy to be part of it."
One tie (0-23-1) was the best the United States' had ever done prior to its historic victory in what was described as a "friendly" in Mexico City. Michael Orozco Fiscal, who plays his club soccer in Mexico, scored the game winner in the 80th minute.
That goal and a handful of acrobatic saves by Tim Howard, including one on a deflection late in the game, stunned the pro-Mexican crowd in Azteca Stadium.
Beckerman's pinpoint pass, which came within inches of a defenders foot, began the goal surge. Beckerman connected quickly with Brek Shea, who charged the Mexican goal. Shea passed to Terrence Boyd who backheeled a pass to Orozco Fiscal.
"A lot of happiness," Beckerman said of the stunner. "[Also] relief and just fun to be part of. I looked around, our sideline is going crazy. You look around, players and everybody hugging each other."
Then Beckerman laughed.
"I wasn't going to run to the sideline because it was just too far. I knew we had a lot of work to do."
Fourteen more minutes, including extra time, to be exact.
"That last part was in slow motion," Beckerman remembered.
Known for its unruly crowds, Beckerman only remembers it was following the goal that anyone tossed something onto the field.
It was a good game for the RSL captain. He completed more than 83 percent of his passes and was a vital piece in breaking up Mexico's attack.
Of course, the big pass, one that threaded a needle, came to Shea, waiting on the left side of the 18-yard box.
"You really don't think too much," Beckerman said. "I got the ball and thought, 'Let's get this ball to Brek. This is where he likes the ball. This is where he can do some damage,' and try to get it as quick as possible.
"This definitely will be in my memory forever, that's for sure."
— Martin Renzhofer
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