At least for one night, Real Salt Lake found a way to win on grass.
Despite an 0-6 record on natural grass entering Wednesday's exhibition game with Universidad Catolica, RSL found a way to rally for its first victory on the green stuff.
It won't be able to build on the momentum at home, but RSL coach John Ellinger hopes it ends the scuttlebutt that his team is allergic to grass.
"I hopes it's a positive thing for everybody," said Ellinger.
The grass surface, which was installed at a cost of $130,000 specifically for last weekend's World Cup qualifier, will be removed next Friday. During Real's three games on the surface, it was outscored 7-3, with all three of those goals coming in the second half of Wednesday's game with the starters on the bench.
By waiting until next Friday to remove the grass, RSL will have a full week to practice on grass in preparation for its June 18 game at San Jose Salt Lake is 1-6-0 on grass this season counting Wednesday's win.The timing of the removal also means RSL will be back playing on the Rice-Eccles Stadium field turf on June 22 when the Los Angeles Galaxy come to town again Salt Lake is unbeaten with a 3-0-2 record on turf this year.
EARLY GOAL BITES AGAIN: Even though it was an exhibition game, by surrendering a 23rd-minute goal to Catolica, RSL allowed a goal in the opening half-hour for the seventh time in 12 games this year.Real Salt Lake is also 2-5-2 in the nine games it has given up the first goal.
SLOPPY FIELD: It's a good thing it didn't rain much in Salt Lake City last week. Thanks to heavy rain on Monday and Tuesday, the grass playing surface at Rice-Eccles Stadium was very sloppy for Wednesday's game.
By halftime, huge divots were visible all over the field.If the rain had come last week, and the field had been as sloppy for the World Cup qualifier last Saturday, it's doubtful U.S. Soccer coach Bruce Arena would've had such high praise for Salt Lake City.
PLAYING IT SAFE: When defender Brian Dunseth came up hobbling in the 20th minute with a left ankle sprain, the last thing coach John Ellinger was going to do was risk further injury.
With Rusty Pierce already out at least three weeks with a right hamstring injury, Ellinger quickly replaced Dunseth in the line-up with Cameron Knowles who was making his first appearance with the full squad.Dunseth should be available for Saturday's game at Los Angeles.
LEADING THE PACK: Real Salt Lake defender Eddie Pope is the third-leading vote getter, and top defender, among fan voting for the MLS All-Star Game, to be held July 30 at Columbus, Ohio.Comment on this story
As of June 2, Pope had appeared on 27.8 percent of the ballots, trailing only New England's Clint Dempsey (28 percent) and Los Angeles' Landon Donovan (40 percent). FC Dallas' Eddie Johnson (24.5) and D.C. United's Freddy Adu (23.5) round out the top five.For Pope, he's all but assured of starting in the all-star game. The RSL defender has logged nearly 12,000 more votes than the second-closest defender, Chris Albright of the L.A. Galaxy.
CHILEAN SUPPORT: About 100 Chilean flags could be seen scattered around Rice-Eccles Stadium Wednesday in support of Universidad Catolica.They were a far cry from the thousands of Costa Rican and American flags being waived during last weekend's qualifier.