the regular season
RSL plays Kansas City today in its final game of the preseason. The team will have its first home practice Monday at 10 a.m. at the Spence Eccles Fieldhouse on the University of Utah campus. The session is open to the public. RSL opens regular-season play April 2 at the MetroStars.
REDLANDS, Calif. - Forward Clint Mathis joined the team at the Ontario, Calif., airport Thursday and will play in his first RSL game since mid-February today, against Kansas City.
Mathis insisted there was nothing to his dismissal from the U.S. National Team before its match against Mexico on Saturday.
"It was just time to get a break, Mathis said. "I haven't been with my club team in a long time. The relationship with the national team is fine.
Defender Eddie Pope was also slated to play for the national team in Mexico on Sunday, but an injury to his groin kept him off the roster. Pope, who joined RSL on Monday after he was released from his national team responsibilities, sat out Thursday's practice after his injury flared up.
"There's no sense pushing it, coach John Ellinger said. "We're just being cautious. We figure if we rest him today he'll be OK tomorrow.
Adam Acosta, a graduate of Judge Memorial in Salt Lake City, isn't on RSL's roster, but he worked out with the team this week at the University of Redlands.
Acosta has kept up with his temporary teammates - he had one goal for RSL's second team in a 4-2 victory over Orange County's Blue Crush on Wednesday. The University of Redlands grad earned a big cheer from teammates out to watch RSL practice.
And kind words from Ellinger.
"He's done well, Ellinger said.
Williams with the assist
Midfielder Andy Williams has a tradition, and Real Salt Lake is hoping he continues it in Utah.
"Every year I've led the team I've been on in assists, Williams said. "My job is to create goals. Their [teammates] job is find the back of the net.
Williams, who played for the Chicago Fire last season, led the team in assists the last two years he was there, and did the same with New England and New York, when he played for both the Revolution and the MetroStars in 2002.
Williams led Chicago in a few other categories. He was No. 1 in fouls suffered (83), committed (43) and corner kicks (46).
More than anything else, though, the Jamaican-born player is looking for a return to the MLS Cup title game.
"I've been to the finals with Chicago and I've tasted that and I want to get back, Williams said.
And they're off
The team left for Tulsa, Okla., on Thursday after practice, for its preseason game against Kansas City today. . . . Only 16 players traveled to Tulsa.
With the starting lineup pretty much set, Ellinger is looking to sharpen up his team's play, and work in a new face in Mathis.
"For us, it's perfect, Ellinger said. "We've got Jason [Kreis], Clint [Mathis] and Andy [Williams], and they get to work together for 90 minutes.
Real Salt Lake roster vs. Kansas City
1 DJ Countess GK
2 Nelson Akwari DF
3 Rusty Pierce DF
5 Brian Kamler MbF
6 Jordan Cila FW
7 Andy Williams MF
9 Jason Kreis FW
10 Clint Mathis FW
11 Chris Brown MF/FW
13 Brian Dunseth DF
15 Leighton O'Brien MF
16 Matt Behncke DF
17 Kenny Cutler MF
18 Jay Nolly GK
23 Eddie Pope DF
29 Luke Kreamalmeyer MF