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Real Salt Lake notebook: U. gives in, lets Real practice

Still looking for grass of their own, S.L. gets temporary help

Published: Wednesday, May 4 2005 10:21 a.m. MDT

The never-ending saga that is Real Salt Lake's practice field reached another temporary solution — the option the team had been hoping for all along.

Today at 10 a.m., RSL will hold its first training session at Ute Soccer Field, located northeast of the Huntsman Center. Practices are always open to the public.

The MLS expansion franchise had originally reached an agreement to practice on Ute Soccer Field throughout its inaugural season, but Ute coach Rich Manning expressed concern about excessive usage of the field and requested the team find another field.

As a result, the team sought out several other options, including UVSC and BYU, but late last week, Real Salt Lake coach John Ellinger finally persuadedManning to concede.

"It's his only field. It's his game field. It's his practice field, and he uses it in the summer for his camps," said Ellinger. "Professionally I understand where he's coming from, but it's hard to explain it to (my players)."

As per the agreement, RSL will practice on Ute Soccer Field only about five or six times between now and mid-June, a figure Manning was more than happy to agree with. After the World Cup qualifier at Rice-Eccles Stadium between the United States and Costa Rica on June 4, Real Salt Lake will transplant the $100,000 sod field hauled in specifically for the qualifier to an undetermined location somewhere in the Salt Lake Valley.

Real Salt Lake and the MetroStars are the only two MLS teams who play on field turf, so when RSL is preparing for a road game, it prefers practicing on grass. Whenever the team is training for a home game on the field turf at Rice-Eccles Stadium, Ellinger prefers to train at the stadium.

TAKE IT EASY: During Saturday's 2-2 tie with San Jose, Real Salt Lake was forced to play without Eddie Pope who was suspended for his red card the week before.

At the rate Clint Mathis is getting yellow cards, it won't be long before RSL has to play a game without their playmaker.

Through four games, Mathis has three yellow cards.

If those three yellows had been in succession, he would've automatically been suspended for a game. Instead, he received them in his second, third and fifth games. Unfortunately for Mathis, however, just because the cautions weren't issued in consecutive games, doesn't mean they're wiped away.

Every yellow card is issued a point total by the MLS Disciplinary Committee between two and five points. Most yellows are valued at four points. Once a player accrues 21 points, he is automatically suspended for the next match.

After his three yellows, Mathis is sitting on 13 caution points.

If a player goes three consecutive games without a yellow card, the league will eliminateup to four caution points, but only when that player is within one or four points from the 21-point maximum.

A player can only take advantage of the good behavior incentive once per season.

RSL's opponent this weekend, Chivas USA, has three players on official warning from the league because of two consecutive yellows. Hector Cuadros, Isaac Romo and Ryan Suarez all face an automatic suspension for Chivas' May 14 game if any of the three receive a yellow card this Saturday against Real Salt Lake in Los Angeles.


E-mail: jedward@desnews.com

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