LEHI — Kyle Beckerman had a front row seat last week for Jurgen Klinsmann's inaugural match as U.S. National Team head coach as he logged 90 minutes in a friendly against Mexico.
He said the overall experience was great.
"It was really fun to be a part of. The neat thing about it was we got stronger and we got better as a team as the game wore on," said Beckerman. "It was good to get a draw, better than the last result they had against Mexico."
Beckerman said Klinsmann had a real positive energy throughout the training sessions in Philadelphia and then during the match.
He said it was pretty contagious.
The match was the first time in nearly five years Beckerman played extended minutes with the U.S. mainstays Landon Donovan, Carlos Bocanegra and Tim Howard.
He said playing with them really elevated his game, and he believes he played well enough to get future opportunities with the U.S. National Team.
After the match, Klinsmann told reporters that Beckerman played exceptionally. That's great news for him going forward, but perhaps not the best news for Real Salt Lake who could lose him for the occasional match because of national team call-ups.
LEFT-SIDED HELP: In a matter of a few weeks, defender Blake Wagner has gone from one of the worst teams in MLS in Vancouver to a Real Salt Lake team that many believe is among the best in MLS despite its recent struggles.
"Fresh start is always good for everyone. I'm happy to be here," said Wagner, who was signed by Real Salt Lake on Tuesday. "Every player wants to be in the playoffs. Being here, they're obviously in a better spot in the table so it's definitely exciting."
Wagner will back up Tony Beltran and Robbie Russell at outside back, but he brings a completely different dimension as the only lefty.
"We've always been playing a right footed player on the left side, and often times have wondered what it might look like if we had a left footed player to get around their midfield and serve balls in with his left foot," said RSL coach Jason Kreis. "We think that could be something he could bring to the table."
POTENTIAL RETURN: RSL defender Jamison Olave, who has missed four straight games because of the sprained knee he suffered in the MLS All-Star Game, could be back in the lineup this Saturday in Houston. That would be a welcome sight for RSL, which is 1-3 without him.
It's still probably 50-50 according to Kreis.
"Anytime anybody's out for a couple of weeks and doesn't really do any soccer training, there's going to be some rust that we need to knock off," said Kreis.
Another issue is that Kreis doesn't necessarily believe Olave is being completely honest about being pain free. Kreis believes "he's guarding it a bit."
RSL striker Paulo Jr., who missed three and half months this season, could be in line for some extended minutes in Houston after a short stint as a substitute last weekend in a 1-0 loss at Toronto.
TARGETING OCTOBER: Despite dealing with a rash of injuries this year, Kreis is optimistic there's light at the end of the tunnel.
RSL midfielder Javier Morales is starting to do some light jogging at practice, and Kreis said he's hopeful to get his all-star midfielder back on the field by Oct. 1 when the team travels to Los Angeles.
If he's not ready by then, however, there are still three more regular season games for Morales to work his way back into playing shape for the playoffs.