Ftbol Fix

Real Salt Lake Update

With the season opener at New York about one month away, MLS expansion team Real Salt Lake (5-1-1) has looked impressive, notching three wins in five exhibition matches in the first leg of RSL’s training camp, which concluded last week in Florida.

What started as a debacle in the team’s opener, a 5-1 loss to MLS Cup-winners D.C. United, has turned into an offensive explosion. RSL scored more than 10 goals in the Florida leg of training camp exhibitions, with star-forwards Clint Mathis and Jason Kreis both contributing several. Andy Williams and Dipsy Selolwane have anchored the midfield, along with rising star Luke Kreamalmeyer.

The addition of U.S. national team star Eddie Pope to a strong central defense should only increase RSL’s chances in the regular season. D.J. Countess has been solid at goalkeeper after a shaky start versus D.C. United.

So what gives? It’s only preseason, according to RSL. Some of the teams Real Salt Lake faced in Florida only played their first teams for one half. The MLS Cup runners-up Kansas City Wizards played their first team the whole game, however, and still Real Salt Lake handed them a loss.

A good indicator of RSL’s fortunes may come in the next two weeks, even without Mathis and Pope, who are both in the U.S. national team camp in advance of two World Cup qualifiers at the end of the month.

One new face that will be in RSL’s camp is forward Jordan Cila, who was picked up in a trade with the Colorado Rapids last week. In exchange, the Rapids received RSL’s second-round pick in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft.

Now the training camp moves to Monte Gordo, Portugal, as RSL will face three Portuguese second division teams.

Real Salt Lake will return to the U.S. on March 14, when the third and final leg of training camp commences in California. It will take place from March 14-27.

U.S. National team

coming to Rice-Eccles

The U.S. Soccer Federation, in cooperation with Real Salt Lake, announced a Saturday double-header on June 4 that will feature a World Cup qualifying match between the U.S. men’s national team and Costa Rica. Also scheduled for June 4 in Rice-Eccles is an MLS match between RSL and FC Dallas.

Currently RSL has two players on the national team. Forward Clint Mathis and defender Eddie Pope are in the team’s camp in preparation for a March 27 World Cup qualifier against Mexico in Mexico City and for an encounter with Guatemala three days later in Birmingham, Ala.

The only time any U.S. national team has played in Salt Lake City was in 2003, when the U.S. women trounced Ireland 5-0 before more than 19,000 fans.

MLS season tickets

Real Salt Lake season ticket packages for the inaugural 2005 campaign at Rice-Eccles Stadium are now on sale, according to RSL. The RSL 2005 season package features 21 games, including all 16 MLS regular season games, the USA-Costa Rica World Cup Qualifier and four special bonus games. Interested fans should contact the Real Salt Lake Ticket Office by calling (866) 9-SOCCER.

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