(This is an edited version; the full take appears here.)
Just got off the phone with Alecko Eskandarian. He's in his hotel room, killing time until tonight, when Real Salt Lake faces D.C. United. He's already done the USA Today crossword puzzle. Now he's watching "ATL" and messing around on Facebook and MySpace.
"Game days are the worst days ever," he said. "Man, they're so boring bro, especially when you're on the road."
A few minutes later, Nick Rimando called me back. He had just gotten back from Pentagon City Mall, and he agreed with Esky. "Oh my God; you just sit in the hotel or sit in your room and do nothing," he said.
But the two gentlemen have used their time in D.C. to catch up with old friends. Esky had dinner with Bobby Boswell last night. Rimando took his two Argentine teammates around town yesterday--"I'm a very welcoming guy; they wanted to see the Casa Blanca, so I went and showed them the White House," he said. They met Ben Olsen for lunch in Georgetown, and then Rimando went over to Olsen's house for dinner last night. That's a lot of carrying on with the enemy.
I asked whether they had plans on exchanging jerseys tonight. Rimado is pledged to Olsen, which is sweet. Eskandarian said he was told before the road trip not to give away any more jerseys, and then he already gave one to his cousin (who has Type I diabetes) in L.A. "I think if I give up my jersey tonight I'm going to be playing skins on Saturday in Toronto," he said. "But we'll see. I'm sure I'll give it to someone. Maybe whoever comes to me first. I don't know, there's so many guys that I want. Maybe if I get a 5-for-1 deal, that'd be great."
Let's see, what else? Well, Nick said I can tell you all that his wife, Jacqui, is pregnant and due in February. Offer your congratulations.
"I feel like an uncle already," Esky said.
Oh, and did you know that Esky lives in the Rimandos' basement? And rides a bicycle with a horn and a basket around Salt Lake?
"I'm Dupree. I live in the basement, I bring strangers over: it's hilarious," Esky said.
"He's Esky: He drinks four Red Bulls beore he wakes up. He's 100 miles an hour every day," Rimando said, when I asked about his tenant. "He's good, he eats his turkey sandwiches after traiing, comes home and chills out on his computer all day."
"I'm a pretty simple guy, I eat turkey sandwiches every day," Esky agreed. "The deal is, whenever [Jacqui] cooks, I do the dishes."
"Other than that, he's quiet," Rimando said. "We just keep him in the dungeon all day. Jacqui's almost like a teacher; she taught him how to make spaghetti. He's not going to do anything to get kicked out; he's learning, living with us."
The former putt-putt tournaments Esky helped create in D.C. have not been recreated in Salt Lake, but the fantasy football league has. Except the RSL guys take it a lot more seriously than the DCU guys did. They have a 14-team league, with Esky as commissioner, and he actually lost in week one. He used to dominate the DCU guys.
"I'll pull some strings," he promised. "I'm like the Patriots; I'll cheat if I have to."
As for their future plans, Rimando has family in Utah and loves the area; he hopes he'll be back with Real next season. Eskandarian's contract with the league is up after this year; he said he hasn't talked to anyone at RSL or MLS about where he'll be next season.
"I have no idea, to be honest with you," he said. "Wherever I'm getting paid to play the game I love, that's the bottom line. I'm just trying to do what I can on the field and not really worry about that stuff."
"I really don't, to be honest with you," he said. "This year I've been pretty boring. For one, goals have been tough to come by. I think I'm just more concerned with getting the results. I've got a few things in the bag, as always, but I don't know if I'm going to break them out tonight. I have a lot o respect for D.C. and the fans, and I'm definitely not going to do anything to show them up."