Sporting Kansas City captain Matt Besler joined hosts Nate Bukaty and Steven St. John on The Border Patrol on Sports Radio 810 WHB this morning. The defender reflected on the team’s performance, and specifically Johnny Russell’s performance which earned him MLS Player of the Week honors.
“It was a huge and much needed win," Besler said of the 3-2 victory over Seattle Sounders FC. "It’s a great feeling in the locker room afterwards and a fun reminder of how good winning feels. Hopefully we can carry that feeling from Sunday forward.
"It was a pleasure to watch Johnny on Sunday. He was on a different level. He has skills and talents that you can’t teach and they were on full display Sunday. I’m really happy for Johnny and he deserves it.”
Bukaty then shifted the conversation to Besler and how he is feeling after recovering from a hamstring injury. Bukaty mentioned that Besler took a few falls during the game and looked frustrated from having to stretch out his legs.
“My body has recovered really well from the game. I’m confident that I can be available for the game Wednesday night (against the LA Galaxy),” Besler said. “The hamstring is good. I was basically experiencing cramps in my calves and other hamstring. I went as long as I could, and fortunately a bunch of guys stepped up and we were able to close out the game.”
Bukaty touched on the fact that it is a quick turnaround for the team, facing the Galaxy on Wednesday having just played Sunday. Besler said the full squad was at Pinnacle on Memorial Day putting in recovery work.
“The Galaxy are at an advantage on paper right now because they played their weekend game on Friday, so they’ve had two more days of recovery. That’s unfortunate with the scheduling, but we can’t change it so we’ve got to deal with it. It’s a lot better to deal with it after a win than it would be a loss.”
Jimmy Medranda made a return to the field Sunday after undergoing a complicated knee surgery. It was his first appearance in a year. Besler addressed how exciting it was to have him back.
“The perseverance he showed is unbelievable. He’s been someone that the team has rallied behind, and as he got closer to his return, that rally became stronger,” Besler said. “I’ve been impressed, amazed and refreshed with the joy he has brought every day. He walked into the stadium and looked like a kid on Christmas morning. You could just feel the joy on his face.”
Bukaty mentioned facing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is coming off a suspension for the Galaxy. Bukaty asked what it is going to be like going up against him and how to deal with a player like him.
“He’s a difference maker for sure. He’s so competitive and has skills that no one else really has. He’s 6-5 and 230 pounds, which you don’t really see that build as a soccer player,” Besler said. “He’s going to be extra motivated because he’s been suspended the last two games. Anytime you go up against a guy like him, it’s a challenge but it’s also an opportunity."
Listen to the full podcast below.