This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Sandy • Typically cryptic in his responses regarding the ongoing rivalry between Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City, RSL captain Kyle Beckerman was more blunt than usual following Wednesday's training session at America First Field.
Ahead of RSL's trip to face Sporting KC Saturday night at Children's Mercy Park, the 34-year-old midfielder was asked if the inciting comments made by KC midfielder Benny Feilhaber to the media last year stick with the club or if they melt away over time.
"That's petty stuff," Beckerman said. "Come say it to us, you know? Talk to us. Who are they talking to? I don't know. We're fine. We have no problem with them. I love [Matt] Besler, [Graham] Zusi, Chance [Myers] these guys are good people. Tim Melia was here, so we actually have a lot of friends over there, so we don't worry about one bozo."
Last April, Feilhaber called RSL "snobby" in a press conference before a game against Houston. He later added, "I think they think they're something special when they're not." The Sporting KC midfielder went on to say, "Some individuals, I don't hate. Some guys on the team, I like. But, I guess as a whole, I don't like them too much."
Feilhaber spoke to the Tribune in late June regarding those comments ahead of RSL's eventual 2-1 win over KC at Rio Tinto Stadium.
"I think they have this persona or at least they believe at they're this team that is a clean-playing football team and all that. And then they blame us for being overly physical," Feilhaber said. "I think they're just like us physically-wise; they're going to kick you, they're going to make it tough for you to play against them, and I think there's more about them than what they like to admit, I guess."
Beckerman told the Tribune last June that he didn't "really want to get into a war of words."
The still-heated RSL-KC rivalry goes back as far as the 2011 preseason when a match in Arizona had to be abandoned due to a scuffle between both teams after several hard tackles. It continued in 2013 during a hotly-contested match in Sandy that Sporting KC won, and eventually, was put over the top at least in the eyes of Feilhaber when the two sides met in the 2013 MLS Cup final.
Earlier this season, RSL went to Children's Mercy Park and beat Sporting KC 2-1 on April 2. Feilhaber made his 2016 debut after dealing with a lingering abdominal strain and scored a stoppage-time penalty kick. That match, however, did not feature Beckerman, who was one of three RSL players suspended from the club's 2-2 draw at Portland the previous week.