Real Salt Lake captures ‘historic’ first preseason win Sunday

Major League Soccer expansion team Real Salt Lake captured its first win, a 1-0 final on Sunday in Tampa, Fla. during the Tom Fitzgerald Soccer Festival.

While the win was only during the training camp and not during the regular season, Real head coach John Ellinger and his staff were nevertheless “visibly excited and pleased for the historic win,” according to team officials.

Earlier this week, Real opened its training camp exhibition season with a 5-1 loss to defending MLS Cup champions D.C. United, with SuperDraft 4th round choice and forward Luke Kreamalmeyer slamming in the only Real goal.

Kreamalmeyer was also honored this week with the first-ever Tom Fitzgerald Memorial Trophy in recognition of his MVP performance at the 2005 MLS Combine. The combine took place before the draft from Jan. 9-13.

The Utah MLS expansion franchise next faced the US Under-17 National Team, featuring Real’s SuperDraft No. 1 pick, Nikolas Besagno. Besagno played all 90 minutes for the national team and is scheduled to join Utah’s MLS team in early summer. Real’s staff widely praised the young player for his “tenacity.”

Real settled for a 1-1 tie versus the U-17s, who have also been in training at the IMG Soccer Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

Real forward Clint Mathis scored Salt Lake’s goal one day after appearing as a reserve for the U.S. national team in their World Cup qualifying match versus Trinidad and Tobago.

The Real Salt Lake “B” team notched a 1-0 win, the club’s first-ever in the preseason, against the MLS San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday morning in Tampa. Real midfielder and recent supplemental draft No. 1 pick Stephen Rhyne knocked home the lone goal in the 49th minute.

Salt Lake’s “A” team followed that victory up with another win, this time 2-0 Sunday evening at the hands of the MLS Columbus Crew. Real forward Jason Kreis had both goals for the new Utah expansion team, both of which came in the first half.

For the Sunday performances of the new MLS franchise, Real coach John Ellinger and his staff rewarded the players with an off-day yesterday.

Training camp is back in Bradenton and the IMG Academy this week, with scrimmages featuring Real and the MLS Kansas City Wizards on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. and a U.S. amateur select squad Saturday at 10 a.m.

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