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RSL notebook: Real will host Chileans on 1st U.S. tour

Published: Wednesday, May 11 2005 12:00 a.m. MDT

June is slowly evolving into a very festive soccer month at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

Just four days after the World Cup qualifier between the United States and Costa on June 4, Real Salt Lake announced that it will face Chilean First Division squad Universidad Catolica in an international friendly on June 8.

"It is truly an honor to host their first tour of the United States," said RSL general manager Steve Pastorino. "We hope this game marks the beginning of a long-term relationship with the Chilean First Division team, and look forward to bringing South American flavor to Utah."

Ticket prices for the game are the same as regular season tickets. For season ticket holders, the game is included and is marked "Bonus Game A" on the ticket.

With a 13-2-1 record entering the final month of the Chilean First Division season, Catolica sits atop the league table. It has outscored opponents 35-10.

"Universidad Catolica has forged a consistent reputation internationally as a true power, and we are excited to showcase our talents and their squad before our phenomenal fans," said Real coach John Ellinger.

Kickoff for the Wednesday night friendly is 7:30.

Catolica also faces the Columbus Crew on June 4.

PAYING A DEBT: When the Seattle Sounders agreed to sell midfielder Leighton O'Brien's contract to Real Salt Lake, the A-League team's transfer fee request was in the form of an exhibition game.

So tonight at the Qwest Field in Seattle, the Sounders will face RSL's reserves at 8 p.m. in a homecoming for O'Brien who was born in Tacoma, Wash. He played for Seattle in 2001 and 2002, and was named the A-League MVP in 2002.

"It'll be nice to see family and friends, but at the end of the day it's just a game," said O'Brien, 29. "It's a game to get sharper and fitter, and impress the coach."

So far this year, O'Brien has appeared in four of RSL's six senior squad games, including a 45-minute outing last Saturday at Chivas.

O'Brien knows first hand just how important tonight's game is to Seattle's players.

"They're going to come out flying, which is good for us to get tested like that," said O'Brien. "They obviously want John (Ellinger) to look at them, so it's a good opportunity for them."

BACK IN ACTION: The RSL reserves will cap a busy week this Sunday when it faces the Galaxy reserves at 9 a.m. at Trailside Park in Park City. Fans can attend the game for free.

The two teams met in Los Angeles on April 10, with the Galaxy pulling away for a 4-2 victory. In that game, Jordan Cila and Jamie Watson scored for Real.

DRIVE FOR FIVE: RSL's ticket sales staff is currently in its final push to reach its stated goal of 5,000 season tickets by June 1. So far, the expansion MLS team has sold just a little over 4,500 season tickets.

Real Salt Lake is third in Major League Soccer in ticket sales. Fans interested in purchasing pro-rated season ticket packages, including mini-plans and flex-plans, should call 1-866-9SOCCER. Pro-rated season ticket packages feature 19 games, including the June 4th World Cup qualifier between the United States and Costa Rica.


E-mail: jedward@desnews.com

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