RSL to add Trinidad international
The work in progress that is Real Salt Lake will see another piece added to the puzzle, as Trinidad & Tobago international Leslie Fitzpatrick should be available for the club in their home opener this Saturday at Rice-Eccles Stadium against the Colorado Rapids.
Fitzpatrick comes to Real from the Atlanta Silverbacks of the USL First Division (second tier) and is expected to join up with the team before this weekend.
The speedy left footer known as "Tiger" seems to have come on board at the right time as fellow T&T international Marlon Rojas is expected to drop back to the left back position, leaving an open spot in the starting lineup on the left of midfield, Fitzpatrick's preferred position.
Fitzpatrick was a regular at forward while playing at Columbia University. After his time at Columbia he spent a year with the now defunct Cincinnati Riverhawks and the Columbus Crew reserves before joining the Silverbacks.
When he joined the Silverbacks just over a year ago, Fitzpatrick was converted from forward to the midfield. But he has been effective playing in the midfield, earning his first cap this past November. That success with the Trinidad and Tobago national team helped him catch the eye of MLS coaches. He really caught the attention of MLS teams with his stellar play in the World Cup qualifier against the USA in February.
The addition of Fitzpatrick, who also spent time training with the MetroStars during their preseason tour of Trinidad and Tobago, will bring Real's roster to 27, leaving room for one more signing.
In other news Clint Mathis has been seeing light duty in practice this week due to swelling in his knee.
"The swelling isn't in the joint and we expect Clint to be 100 percent in time for Saturday's game," coach John Ellinger said. "We expect Clint to start for the home opener."
Also expected to be in the starting lineup Saturday is defender Brian Dunseth, who is full strength after a knee injury of his own. Ellinger said that Dunseth held up well in last week's reserve game and will make an appearance in central defense after being given a clean bill of health.
David Hale is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.