Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Keepin’ It Real with Tony Beltran

I was able to catch up with Tony Beltran on Monday, following his struggles in the first half against Seattle on Saturday. I was struck (reminded actually) by two things: first, this is a young kid; second, despite the age - he has a remarkable head on his shoulders. This is the first of several Keepin' It Real segments that you'll see over the next couple of days - look for Borchers, Rimando, Movsisyan and Morales.


KIR: Thoughts on the match Saturday?

Beltran: Looking back - I watched the game again last night - we didn’t come out and play our best soccer right off the bat. But it’s tough going into that atmosphere, with Seattle being comfortable there. It being their second game, and our opener for the season, but Coach made a point after the game to say “you’re not going to win or lose the league in the first game of the year.” And especially in the second half there were more positives to take out of that game.

KIR: A lot’s been made on that environment up there (Seattle), does that make it hard on you as a visitor, or does it mainly give them a lift?

Beltran: It gives them a boost and it’s a little harder for teams because the crowds going to be the 12th man of course. I mean the crowd’s great, but when you are a footballer you’re just more excited to come and play in front of a big atmosphere like that. It just makes it more fun.

KIR: So in the first half with that goal tell us what happened from your perspective?

Beltran: You know its tough. I watched the game. They played a switching ball out wide and I was isolated on Zakuani. Yeah, I probably should have done better. He made a good move and turned me a little bit. I was trying to keep him to the line because I didn’t want him to cut inside and have a better angle at the goal. In the ideal situation I should have done a better job of standing him up. It’s tough. but those things happen and you learn from it.

KIR: You hadn’t played alot since early in the year last season, did you have nerves going into that match or did you feel pretty calm about it?

Beltran: Um, just the normal pregame nerves. I didn’t really think about that to be honest. I had played games in the offseason with the Gen Ad team so I’d gotten 90 minutes in. Just the normal pregame nerves and excitement.

KIR: It looked like you were able to get forward quite a bit. Is that something you want to focus on in your role?

Beltran: Absolutely, that’s my favorite part of playing outside back…obviously defending comes first and foremost, but you get alot of space as the game opens up on the outside. And you get to contribute to the attack and alot of times start the attack. Especially in the second half, I got to get forward and whip in a couple of balls but not as much as I would have liked.