TUCSON, Ariz. – Real Salt Lake arrived in cold and rainy Tucson – no, that’s not a misprint – on Monday for the start of the team’s third and final preseason camp. We’re now less than three weeks away from the start of the 2013 MLS regular season.
Head Coach Jason Kreis will put the Claret-and-Cobalt through its first training session of the week on Monday evening. It should be a light session, with the team running through some drills for about an hour before heading back in.
RSL will play its first FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup match on Wednesday, when it will take on the New York Red Bulls at Kino Veterans Stadium at 7:00 p.m. MT. The Claret-and-Cobalt will take on Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. MT and the New England Revolution on Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 7:00 p.m. MT. RSL will close out its Tucson trip on Saturday, Feb. 23, when it will play in either the DDC Championship or Third-Place Match.
MLSsoccer.com will stream every game of the tournament live excluding the final, which will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network.
Beckerman, Saborio on MLS Media Tour
RSL captain Kyle Beckerman and forward Alvaro Saborio did not travel with the team on Monday. Beckerman is currently in the middle of a MLS Media Tour in New York City. Saborio wrapped his two-day media tour of Miami earlier Monday and will arrive in Tucson later Monday night.
Borchers, Wingert travel with team
Injured defenders Nat Borchers and Chris Wingert traveled with the team for the first time all preseason on Monday, heading to Tucson to rehab their injuries with the RSL training staff. Both players are still weeks away from training.
RSL made several changes to the roster that trained in Irvine, Calif. last week, sending home defender Brock Granger, Justin Davis and Everett Pitts and goalkeeper Mark Pais and bringing in defender Nickardo Blake on trial from the NASL Ft. Lauderdale Strikers.
We’ll update the roster as players come and go from camp in the next couple of weeks.
Real Salt Lake defender Chris Wingert revealed on Saturday that he's about a month away from returning to practice, telling ESPN 700's On Frame from the Rio Tinto Stadium Open House that his fractured right metatarsal will need "four to five" more weeks to heal before he can get back on the training field.
Wingert injured his foot while training in December.
"I just talked to [Team Physician Dr. Andrew Cooper] who did the surgery and he said everything looks perfect," Wingert said on Saturday. "It's doing great and it looks like about four to five more weeks until I can really start training."
Wingert hasn't been with RSL at all this preseason, remaining in Salt Lake City to ehab his foot. He will leave with the team for Tucson on Monday, however, traveling with the Claret-and-Cobalt to the FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup to perform rehab under the watchful eyes of RSL's training staff.
Injured defender Nat Borchers will also travel with the team to Tucson. Borchers had surgery on a left quad tendon earlier this offseason and was not with the team for any of its previous preseason trips. He's expected to return to game action in mid-April.
IRVINE, Calif. - MLSsoccer.com’s Michael Black wrote a nice article on Real Salt Lake midfielder Sebastian Velasquez on Thursday, speaking with the rat-tailed playmaker about his rookie year of 2012 and his hopes for 2013.
Velasquez had some illuminating things to say, telling Black that he wants to expand his role in his second professional season.
"Last year I was very nervous," Velasquez told Black earlier this week. "I was on a thin line between making the team or not. Now, this year, I feel like I'm more comfortable. I'm back with my family. We are all so close, I really do consider the team my family. I know the system and I what to expect and I think I am picking up my game.
"Last year, I just wanted to get a chance to see the field," he continued. "This year, I want to see the field a lot more, play a big role for this team. I think I can score goals, play a lot of minutes."
Velasquez has looked good so far in preseason, flashing his trademark technical ability and becoming a much more polished defender. He’s also taken on a more vocal role, helping some of RSL’s new arrivals along as they learn Head Coach Jason Kreis’s system.
RSL coaches and players have taken note of Velasquez’s solid preseason. Kreis told Black in an interview from Irvine that “[Seba] will get a shot to show us what he can do” with fellow midfielders Javier Morales injured and Luis Gil with the U.S. U-20 team.
Claret-and-Cobalt midfielder Ned Grabavoy has also been impressed by Velasquez, praising him on Thursday’s edition of “The Bill and Hans Show.”
“I think Sebastian is a guy who’s looked pretty sharp,” Grabavoy said. “Obviously, he’s a skillful and technical player going forward, but he’s also shown a little bit of maturity in other parts of his game, which is important.”
Give Black's entire article a read. It's well worth your time.
IRVINE, Calif. – Real Salt Lake had the last training session of its California camp on Thursday morning, working on tactics and set plays ahead of Friday’s closed-door scrimmage against the L.A. Galaxy.
Thursday’s session had a serious tone. The team is clearly bothered by its 0-2-0 preseason record and seems motivated to put one in the win column at the Home Depot Center on Friday.
“I think it’s a really important game for us,” said rookie forward Devon Sandoval. “I think everybody knows that and I think the guys are very focused. Everyone looks pretty sharp and we’re hoping that things go well tomorrow.”
RSL will travel back to Salt Lake City immediately following Friday’s match, remaining in Utah for the weekend before heading to Arizona on Monday for the start of the FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup. The Claret-and-Cobalt will take on the New York Red Bulls in the DDC opener on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. MT.
Real Salt Lake forward Alvaro Saborio had a big night for Costa Rica on Wednesday, scoring a goal and adding an assist in Los Ticos' 2-2 draw at Panama.
Sabo scored in the 38th minute of the match, cutting Costa Rica's deficit to 2-1 with a powerful header from 12 yards out. Saborio is expected to join to the Claret-and-Cobalt for the first time this preseason on Monday in Tucson ahead of the FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup.
IRVINE, Calif. – Real Salt Lake got back to work on Wednesday after an off day on Tuesday, completing its first session of the day around noon local time. The Claret-and-Cobalt will take the field for a second session on Wednesday evening.
Video of some small-sided action from the morning training is above. The guys had an active session, with lots of chatter, coaching and good soccer on display.
RSL will train once on Thursday before closing out its California camp on Friday with a closed-door scrimmage against the L.A. Galaxy.
IRVINE, Calif. – Plenty of Real Salt Lake players’ eyes were glued to the television on Wednesday afternoon for the U.S.’s 2-1 World Cup qualifying defeat at Honduras.
While that game didn’t go as most of the team would’ve liked, it’s far from the only international match that RSL will be watching on Wednesday. Claret-and-Cobalt forward Alvaro Saborio will be in action for Costa Rica in its Hexagonal match at Panama on Wednesday night (7:00 p.m. MT, beIN Sport), with several RSL staffers and players planning to head to a local establishment to watch Sabo in action for Los Ticos.
Three RSL players who won’t be watching Saborio play for Costa Rica on Wednesday are goalkeeper Lalo Fernandez and defenders Carlos Salcedo and Lovel Palmer. They’ll be locked in to the Mexico-Jamaica match (7:00 p.m. MT, ESPN2), with Jamaican international Palmer hoping that his Reggae Boyz can take down Fernandez’s and Salcedo’s El Tri at Estadio Azteca. There’s been quite a bit of banter about the match between Fernandez and Palmer, with the two betting dinner on the outcome. Stakes are steaks.
IRVINE, Calif. - Real Salt Lake has the day off on Tuesday, taking a quick break from training and scrimmages to recharge the legs and refresh the minds.
The entire team is scheduled to head out for an afternoon BBQ with RSL Owner Dell Loy Hansen this afternoon. Should be a nice, relaxing time - I know the guys are looking forward to it.
The Claret-and-Cobalt will get back to work with a double session on Wednesday. The team will have one training session on Thursday before closing out its California camp with a closed door scrimmage against the L.A. Galaxy on Friday. RSL will head back to Utah following that match, remaining in Salt Lake for the weekend before heading to Arizona for the club's third and final leg of preseason at the FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup from Feb. 11-24.
IRVINE, Calif. - Real Salt Lake made a notable addition to its camp roster on Saturday, bringing in former L.A. Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders on a trial.
Saunders was the Galaxy’s No. 1 ‘keeper in 2011 and 2012, helping lead L.A. to MLS Cup titles in both years. The 31-year-old goalie had a 1.33 goals against average in 27 regular season games played last year. He and L.A. parted ways this offseason after the Galaxy signed former Tottenham goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini.
The Claret-and-Cobalt now has five goalkeepers in camp in Nick Rimando, Jeff Attinella, Lalo Fernandez, trialist Mark Pais and Saunders.
RSL will train once on Sunday before taking on the University of California-Irvine Anteaters in a scrimmage on Monday night.
Former Real Salt Lake assistant Robin Fraser and ex-RSL goalkeeper Kyle Reynish both made moves to the Big Apple this week, with Fraser joining the staff of new Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke on Wednesday and Reynish signing with the NASL New York Cosmos on Thursday.
Fraser was an assistant at RSL under Claret-and-Cobalt Head Coach Jason Kreis from 2007-10. Reynish backed up Real Salt Lake starting goalkeeper Nick Rimando from 2007-12.
Kreis spoke to Empire of Soccer about the Reynish move, telling the site's Dave Martinez that he was surprised that Reynish wasn't picked up by another MLS team this offseason.
"I figured somebody would take [Reynish] in the re-entry draft back in December," Kreis told Martinez. "I thought for sure that people would have scouted him enough to know of his quality and I really thought he would end up on another team in MLS."
"He has played in some very big games for us," Kreis added. "He has been training with arguably the best goalkeeper coach in the league in Jeff Cassar. He has been training with Nick Rimando. He has all the experience necessary to lead the other goalkeepers inthat team and also offers leadership to the rest of the entire group."
Petke was clearly very happy to hire Fraser, who was the head coach at Chivas USA in 2011 and 2012, telling the league website that bringing in the ex-U.S. international was an easy decision.
“Just thinking of who could be a good fit for Red Bull and [Fraser's] name came up and to me it was a no-brainer,” Petke told MLSsoccer.com. “He was available and the experiences he has and knowing him personally, [I knew] his attitude, his personality, would fit right in. … I said to [Red Bull Sporting Director Andy Roxburgh] that he would be a phenomenal addition to this staff.”
Best of luck to Kyle and Robin in New York.