Injury has hurt RSL's scoring output

Published: Friday, April 29 2005 10:24 a.m. MDT

In the eyes of coach John Ellinger, Real Salt Lake's glass is half full.

Sure the team has scored just two goals in four games — three fewer tallies than fellow expansion club Chivas USA — but at least RSL has a win and four points in the MLS standings.

"I'd be more concerned if we only had two goals and we didn't have a win and a tie," said Ellinger. "But I'm not going to push the panic button."

While issues still remain everywhere else on the field, the most glaring for the lowest-scoring team in the league is definitely up top. With an eighth of the MLS season in the bag, RSL is on pace for 16 goals.

Is Andy Williams' injury to blame?

After all, the team has played without its attacking midfielder since he went down with a groin injury in the eighth minute at Los Angeles in the second week.

His presence would've enabled imposing strikers Clint Mathis and Jason Kreis to remain up top for Ellinger. Instead, Mathis has been forced to drop into the midfield, with Dipsy Selolwane taking his spot up top.

The tandem of Kreis and Selolwane hasn't exactly overwhelmed opposing defenses. In two games with the duo starting alongside each other, Salt Lake has scored just once, and that was on a set-piece goal from defender Brian Dunseth.

"It hasn't been productive, and there are other players that want chances," said Ellinger. "Dipsy's a good player, and he causes problems, but at the end of the day strikers have got to score goals."

Ellinger isn't giving up on Selolwane and may in fact start him again Saturday against San Jose, a game that kicks off at 7:30 p.m. at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

"I still think Dipsy can be a big-time player in this league," said Ellinger. "You know how strikers get, when they don't score they press. It's just timing, being in the right spot and the right time."

There's no question Selolwane is pressing. Real Salt Lake acquired him in a trade from Chicago to provide depth at the forward position. He was never projected as a starter. Circumstances changed throughout training camp and then with Williams' injury, suddenly Selolwane was thrust into the starting forward spot. Almost any player trying to make an impression on his coach would press under a similar scenario.

Perhaps back home on the Rice-Eccles Stadium turf, Selolwane might be able to finally relax and in the process inject a little life into RSL's dormant attack.

OFF THE FIELD SOLUTIONS: With more than 25,000 fans on hand for Real Salt Lake's home opener on April 16, you'd think the club would be calling the day a smashing success.

In reality, however, it wasn't a perfect day. As the game approached halftime, many fans were still in line outside waiting to buy tickets. Simply put, the team wasn't prepared to handle the 7,500 walk-ups on that day.

RSL general manager insists the kinks have been worked out.

"We were acutely aware that ticket sales and will call lines were unacceptable as kickoff neared on Saturday," said Pastorino. "After meeting with stadium officials, we have addressed Saturday's situations and both sides are proactively implementing solutions to create a more positive experience for our fans."

That means opening additional ticket windows, adding ticket sellers as well as installing more ticket printers and credit-card machines.

The team has also addressed the long concession lines and insists that won't be a problem either.

Tickets for Saturday's game can be purchased by visiting the Rice-Eccles Stadium ticket office by calling (801) 581-UTIX or by logging onto www.utahtickets.com.

LOOKING FOR A HOME: To accommodate the June 4 World Cup qualifier, Real Salt Lake is spending more than $100,000 to have a temporary grass field installed in Rice-Eccles Stadium.

At the conclusion of the game, the team wants to transport the sod to a permanent grass practice facility. Pastorino is asking members of the community to help find a location for this field.

"This region faces a shortage of competition-quality grass field, so we are officially soliciting ideas from private and public entities in the Salt Lake valley for a permanent home for this grass field," said Pastorino.

The team seeks priority to practice on the field, but is open to sharing the field with a partner. Contact Pastorino at 1-866 9-SOCCER.

MORE GOOD RATINGS: Last weekend's KSL broadcast of RSL's game at Dallas earned impressive ratings once again.

Despite being aired in Utah at 11 p.m., five hours after kickoff, it received a 2.4 rating and a 12 share across the Utah demographic. KSL will broadcast three more road games during the season.


E-mail: jedward@desnews.com

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS