Help may be on way for Real

Team expects to sign Guatemalan defender

Published: Thursday, July 21 2005 12:00 a.m. MDT

The reinforcements are coming, but unfortunately for Real Salt Lake, it must wait an additional four weeks, if not longer, before it can reap the benefits.

RSL general manager Steve Pastorino confirmed Wednesday that the club intends to sign Guatemalan defender Gustavo Cabrera but must wait approximately four to six weeks for him to obtain a work permit from the U.S. government.

"We expect that he will play for us this year," said Pastorino.

Cabrera is already in Salt Lake City rehabbing a sprained knee he suffered in a CONCACAF Gold Cup match with the Guatemalan National Team.

The 25-year-old defender already owns a visa to travel in the United States with his national team but must obtain a work visa to a sign a contract with Major League Soccer.

"Ultimately, it's in the U.S. government's hands," said Pastorino. "His agent is driving the mechanics behind it. What we've learned is if he went home to Guatemala and applied, it would be a longer process than if he stays and applies from here."

To make room for Cabrera on the roster, coach John Ellinger will have to make the difficult decision of which senior roster player to cut.

Along with Carlos Ruiz, Pando Ramirez and Mario Rodriguez — fellow Guatemalan internationals playing in the MLS — Cabrera is among a handful of his countrymen who are regarded as the golden generation of Guatemalan futbol.

Named the MVP of the Guatemalan league in 2003, Cabrera is regarded as an extremely composed and skilled defender who leaves it all on the field every game.

As for RSL's other newcomer, it's looking more and more like Adolfo Gregorio will have to wait until FIFA's secondary international transfer window opens on Aug. 15 before he can step on the field in a Real uniform.

Gregorio has been officially released by his former club, Darlington FC of the English Second Division, and has signed a contract with MLS. However, FIFA has denied his request to play before Aug. 15, and an appeal made on his behalf by U.S. Soccer is pending.

RSL acquired Gregorio in a June 30 trade with the Colorado Rapids, who owned Gregorio's rights after drafting him in the second round of the 2004 MLS SuperDraft.

Real Salt Lake has 14 games remaining on its regular season schedule, including four before Aug. 15. That would give the newcomers 10 games to help Salt Lake make a playoff push.

FINDING HIS WAY: After a nearly three-month long absence, Luke Kreamalmeyer is back in the midfield mix for Real Salt Lake.

The SuperDraft fourth-round pick made an immediate impact in preseason training camp, and coach Ellinger rewarded him with playing time in each of the team's first four games — including two starts.

Intimidation, however, appeared to get the better of the RSL rookie during that opening month. Following his April 23rd start at Dallas, in which he was replaced at halftime, Kreamalmeyer didn't step on the field again until last Wednesday's U.S. Open Cup loss to Minnesota.

Four days later at Kansas City, Kreamalmeyer came off the bench in the first half and assisted on one of Salt Lake's two goals.

"Luke has obviously worked very hard to get his confidence back, and I think he understands what happened in the process," said Ellinger. "He just lost his way a little bit, and now he's got it back."

Kreamalmeyer believes he just needed to adjust his game to the quicker speed of play, and regain his confidence.

"What you saw against Kansas City, he'd receive it, turn, and either go at them outside or inside, and that's what Luke does, and that's why he was so effective in the preseason," said Ellinger.


E-mail: jedward@desnews.com

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