BRADENTON, Fla. - Real Salt Lake, Major League Soccer's 12th team, dropped a 5-1 decision to Defending MLS Cup Champion D.C. United today in the expansion club's first-ever preseason scrimmage. Head Coach John Ellinger saw his starting eleven trail 1-0 at halftime before making 10 substitutions at the half. The RSL reserves, comprised of several young expansion and supplemental draft picks as well as non-roster invitees, allowed four second-half goals before 2005 MLS Combine MVP Luke Kreamalmeyer found the back of the net for Real Salt Lake's first "unofficial" goal.
"Results don't matter until April 2," said Ellinger, generally pleased with the opportunity for RSL to foreign opposition after a week of training. "We have a plan, and we know where we need to be in two months. Today was the first step where we wanted our starters to get 45 minutes of game action and test their cohesion and fitness. Their legs feel good, and I didn't see anything that won't be fixed by another week of being on the field together."
Only defender Nelson Akwari played the full 90 minutes for Real Salt Lake, which started DJ Countess in goal, with Brian Dunseth in central defense alongside Akwari. At left back was Matt Behncke, with Rusty Pierce on the right side of the back line. Brian Kamler started at defensive midfield behind Andy Williams, who was flanked by Pablo Brenes on the left and Evan Whitfield on the right. Jason Kreis and Dipsy Selolwane started up top.
"We created chances and had some opportunities," continued Ellinger. "Defensively we need to be better synchronized, improve our communication and cohesion. But it's early, we've only been together one week. The first half was very encouraging, and as we incorporate (U.S. National Team players) Eddie (Pope) and Clint (Mathis) into the chemistry of our team, we still like our chances."
MATHIS, POPE, U.S. ON DISPLAY WEDNESDAY:
Real Salt Lake invites media, fans and season-ticket holders to attend the organization's World Cup Qualifier Watch Party tomorrow, February 9 at 12:30 p.m. MT at Iggy's Sports Grill (located at 677 South 200 West in Salt Lake City). Televised live from the Queen's Park Oval in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad on ESPN2, RSL icons Clint Mathis and Eddie Pope will represent the United States against potential RSL signee Marlon Rojas and Trinidad in the first step of the final round of the CONCACAF hexagonal's road to FIFA World Cup Germany 2006.
REAL SALT LAKE CONTINUES TRAINING IN FLORIDA:
Following today's scrimmage against D.C. United, RSL resumes training tomorrow before Thursday afternoon's scrimmage against Ellinger's former U.S. U-17 squad. Below is the schedule for the week:
Training Camp at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida (all times ET and subject to change)
*First Annual Tom Fitzgerald Memorial Soccer Festival in Tampa, Fla.
RSL v. CREW PUTS FINISHING TOUCH ON FITZGERALD FESTIVAL:
Real Salt Lake will travel to Tampa, Fla., on Sunday afternoon to participate in the inaugural Tom Fitzgerald Annual Soccer Festival. D.C. United will scrimmage the U.S. U-17 national team at 4 p.m. ET, before the Columbus Crew faces RSL at 6 p.m. ET at Pepin Stadium at the University of Tampa. In addition to the afternoon double-header, the schedule includes youth soccer and goalkeeper clinics and a coaching symposium, photo and autograph sessions and an auction. All proceeds from the event will fund the Tom Fitzgerald Memorial Scholarship at the University of Tampa. Donations can also be mailed to: Tom Fitzgerald Memorial Scholarship Fund; University of Tampa; 401 W. Kennedy Blvd., Box I; Tampa, FL 33606. For further information, please contact Adrian Bush at (813) 253-6240 ext. 3407 or 3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Real Salt Lake season ticket packages for the inaugural 2005 season at Rice-Eccles Stadium are now on sale. The RSL 2005 season ticket package features 20 games, including all 16 MLS regular season games and four special bonus games. Real Salt Lake's season ticket pricing consists of a Youth (15 and younger) and an Adult in four price levels. Prices for the 2005 season ticket packages are $200 adult ($180 youth) for the North Goal, $300 adult ($240 youth) for the Corner Flag, $400 ($320 youth) for East Sideline and $500 ($400 youth) for VIP seats. Tickets can be purchased by visiting the RSL Ticket Office at 515 South 700 East, #2R, SLC, UT 84102, by logging onto www.RealSaltLake.com or by contacting the Real Salt Lake Ticket Office at (866) 9-SOCCER.