"I'm in mourning right now," said defender Nat Borchers. "It's like it's a funeral. Just the fact that we're not on this ride anymore, that U.S. Soccer is out of the World Cup. It was so much fun while it lasted."
Why RSL captain Kyle Beckerman didn't play against Belgium remains a mystery.
"Obviously, we're not in the trenches and in the meetings that they're having," said RSL head coach Jeff Cassar. "But obviously, that was a weird one. I think he could have helped them."
"I was very surprised," said Borchers. "I thought he had done enough to get in there and deserve the start. But nobody gets to make those decisions aside from Jurgen."
The good news is Beckerman and goalkeeper Nick Rimando will both be back on the field soon for Real Salt Lake. While Jeff Attinella and Cole Grossman have filled in admirably, RSL struggled mightily without two of its best players. The team hasn't won a match since May 17th, going winless in its last six.
"It's going to be fantastic," said Cassar. "They bring confidence to other players. Just bringing back that experience from the World Cup will be huge and be great for the fans as well."
"Anytime you can get two guys back that are that caliber is going to be huge for our team," added defender Chris Wingert. "But I'll tell you what, I'd give it back in a heartbeat if they could be there for another week or two. I obviously wished that they went through, not just for the country, but also for Kyle and Nick."
Beckerman and Rimando won't be in the lineup Friday against New England, but expect them back in action July 12th against the L.A. Galaxy.
"We have a veteran group here," said midfielder Ned Grabavoy, who went through his second full training session after missing time with an injured hip flexor. "Nobody is panicking. We understand it's a long season. For whatever reason, sometime in the summer we always go through one of these stretches. We got to get ourselves out of it. How we do it is up to us."
"If you would have said at the beginning of the season would you mind being in second place in the whole league right now," said Cassar. "Given the national team call ups, given the injuries, given the off the field stuff, I would have said, 'Heck ya.'"
"I said it after the game against Chivas," Borchers said. "This is the most important game of the year."
RSL (6-3-7) hosts New England (7-6-2) Saturday night at 8:00. The match will be televised on CW-30.