Real Salt Lake: Beckerman, Rimando make U.S. World Cup team
Have a seat, Kyle Beckerman.
You too, Nick Rimando.
Enjoy your flight to Brazil.
,In an earlier-than-expected decision by U.S. men's national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann Thursday, the 23-man U.S. roster for this summer's FIFA World Cup in Brazil was named just 10 days after Klinsmann summoned a group of 30 players to the Bay Area for his World Cup camp.
Real Salt Lake's captain Beckerman and long-time goalkeeper Rimando have been named to Klinsmann's 23-man group, which will jet to Brazil in early June to face Ghana, Portugal and Germany in Group G, and possibly beyond.
Players from all around the globe began arriving in Palo Alto, Calif., last week to prepare and jockey for respective shots at making the final roster, with three international friendlies on the docket before the final 23-man roster was needed to be submitted to FIFA by June 2.
In a little over a week, Beckerman and Rimando, two notable Klinsmann favorites, earned their tickets to Brazil. This will be the first World Cup appearances for both Beckerman, 32, and Rimando, 34, who have been with RSL since 2007.
"I don't know if I can put it exactly into words, but it's going to be the icing on the cake, something that I've dreamt of and millions of kids dream about doing," Rimando told The Tribune earlier this month. "I just think it goes without saying that hard work does pay off. Dreams do come true."
Left out of the national team picture for the last two World Cup cycles, both Beckerman and Rimando were given new life in their careers as U.S. team members. When Klinsmann was first appointed as coach in 2011, the two began getting looks soon after. Both headlined in last summer's run to the CONCACAF Gold Cup crown and Beckerman started in the World Cup-clinching 2-0 win over Mexico last September.
"Really, it's something that I guess I've been thinking about, dreaming about, for as long as I can remember," Beckerman told The Tribune recently. "I'd like to think that it's just going be just an unbelievable experience."
Drawn into the so-called "Group of Death," the World Cup experience for the Americans promises to be memorable, at the very least. More than being handed a shot at revenge against Ghana in their opener on June 16 or facing soccer icon Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal or sizing up against Klinsmann's home country of Germany, this World Cup cycle will largely be defined by who the U.S. coach booked.
And who he didn't.
In a stunning move, Landon Donovan the face of U.S. Soccer since helping lead the Stars & Stripes to a quarterfinal finish in the 2002 World Cup was left off the 23-man roster. Klinsmann took 18-year-old young Bayern Munich talent Julian Green, Houston Dynamo midfielder Brad Davis as well as Alejandro Bedoya and Mix Diskerud over the 32-year-old L.A. Galaxy star.
"For the players, it's very important to know that they are now part of it and they can relax and know they are on the list going to Brazil and taking it from there," Klinsmann said in a statement. "After almost 10 days of work right now, we thought the point has come to make the decision."
In search of consistency along an inexperienced back line, Klinsmann will bring eight defenders to Brazil including five different options at full back, a major question for the U.S.
Rimando will likely be the No. 3 goalkeeper behind long-time starter Tim Howard and fellow back-up Brad Guzan.
Beckerman could vie for a starting role alongside U.S. star Michael Bradley in the heart of the midfield, but will have to battle with incumbent Jermaine Jones and Diskerud. Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore highlight the four forwards being taken, with Dempsey, captain in the Klinsmann regime, in fine form with eight MLS goals.
Altidore's another story.
The 24-year-old forward who torched CONCACAF defenses in World Cup Qualifying scoring goals in five-consecutive qualifiers last year struggled to get playing time with English Premier League side Sunderland during the 2013-14 campaign. The inclusion of Aron Johannsson and Chris Wondolowski will give Klinsmann versatile options in the attack against Ghana, Portugal and Germany.
Now the waiting game is over for Beckerman, Rimando and 21 other Americans. Ahead of Klinsmann's first World Cup go as U.S. boss is arguably the toughest group stage the U.S. has ever drawn.
The Americans have 25 days until kick off.
Final U.S. World Cup roster
Goalkeepers (3) • Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Defenders (8) • DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (NÃ¼rnberg), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Borussia MÃ¶nchengladbach), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)
Midfielders (8) • Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Jermaine Jones (Besiktas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Forwards (4) • Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)