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Immigration green cards turn RSL stars into Americans, for MLS purposes

Published March 13, 2012 9:40 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Good news for Real Salt Lake, its roster flexibility, and two of its most important players.Midfielder Javier Morales and forward Alvaro Saborio have received immigration "green cards," according to team officials, which make them both lawful permanent residents of the United States and, for the purposes of Major League Soccer rosters, full-blooded Americans.As green-card holders, Morales and Saborio — and teammates such as defender Jamison Olave — no longer must occupy valuable international roster spots, allowing RSL to fill those with other players.The team's six international roster spots are now occupied by forwards Fabian Espindola (Argentina), Paulo Jr. (Brazil) and Emiliano Bonfigli (Argentina), midfielders Enzo Martinez (Uruguay) and defenders Diogo de Almeida (Brazil) and Terakazu Tanaka (Japan). Morales is also a native Argentine, while Saborio is from Costa Rica.