Kyle Beckerman's foot problems are the result of lifetime of soccer compounded by some new Nike fashion, the World Cup and a little bit of superstition.
The Real Salt Lake captain skipped playing in this week's All-Star Game because he needed some rest. But Beckerman still trained with RSL this week and should be ready to go Saturday night against D.C. United.
After training on Friday morning, Beckerman said he was getting used to some new orthotics — and then he shed a little light on what's been ailing him.
"I'm feeling good," he said. "Got some new orthotics. So hopefully they'll hold for the rest of the season. It'll take a little time [t0 get used to them]. But it can't get worse than it was. We're on the right path. A couple more days, it should be dialed in."
Beckerman said the real issue started a few months back with a change in his Nike Tiempo cleats, making them more narrow than the ones he wore previously.
"The orthotics I wore in the old shoes didn't work in the new shoes, so I had to change," he said. "Then I scored a goal in that game, so I stuck with that. Then Brazil came and with the humidity, it didn't work. I had to switch and was wearing some orthotics that weren't right. Then I got back from Brazil and we had games, had to keep going."
A lighter week of training seems to have served Beckerman well.
And by all accounts, his feet needed it.
Earlier in the week, RSL coach Jeff Cassar described Beckerman's feet as "nasty." Then Beckerman expounded on that a little Friday: "I had about a quarter of a nail on one toe. It was just a bunch of blisters and raw balls of your feet and toes. But that's soccer, a soccer player's feet. That's the way it goes."
A few more odds and ends from Friday's training:
• Justen Glad and Abdoulie Mansally were both practicing on the field at Rio Tinto Stadium. With Chris Wingert and Tony Beltran both suspended because of yellow card accumulation, Cassar will likely need at least one Mansally or Glad to step up on Saturday. The RSL coach, however, wouldn't divulge his plans for his back line.
From Mansally earlier in the week: "I'm feeling grey. Training hard day in, day out, week in, week out. Waiting for an opportunity. I know every player doesn't want to sit on the bench that much. But once you get an opportunity, keep playing. We have a great team. Whoever steps in can make a difference. I'm hoping to do the same thing. I'm ready to go all out and make that difference."
• Chris Schuler looked good in training this week after being held out of last weekend's game in Colorado with foot soreness. It's something RSL will continue to monitor. Schuler, meanwhile, could see time at outside back against D.C.
• Luis Gil was back after training with the U-23s in the Bahamas. As Cassar tells it, the playing time and travel this week shouldn't preclude him from playing Saturday.
• RSL will announce its new assistant coach on Monday.
• The Sebastian Jaime rumors persist, but RSL still has no official word.
"We'll see how things go, but there's nothing to report right now," Cassar said.
— Aaron Falk
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