Perhaps this is the year the breaks do go the way of Real Salt Lake.
After a history of some bad luck — balls bouncing off goal posts, untimely injuries, last-minute or extra-time goals against it, etc . . . — RSL caught lightning in a bottle Thursday when the team landed U-20 U.S. National Team member Kyle Davies through an MLS draft lottery.
"We got lucky," Real general manager Garth Lagerwey said. "We only had a five-percent chance of getting him, and things went our way. The league uses these lotteries for national team players that for different reasons do not go through the draft."
Davies is a defender and just turned 20 years old last weekend. He was the captain of the U-20 team that recently completed the 2009 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship. He hails from Danville, Calif., and has been with the English club Southhampton FC ever since he signed as an 18-year-old. He has trained with the first team, but has played mainly with the reserve team.
"One thing we have done with our team and have had quite a bit of success with is finding players that have some experience playing in Europe," Lagerwey said. "Europe can be tough, it's competitive. Once a player has been over there and dealt with the pressure and he knows what it is all about, we feel that they are grateful for the opportunity to come into MLS and be able to play at that level and live in a great place and contribute to our team."
With the acquisition of Davies, RSL will have to make some changes to its roster in the upcoming weeks. The MLS maximum for a roster is 24 players, and as soon as Fabian Espindola becomes an official member of the team — he has what the team calls several "immigration issues" to overcome first including work visas and FIFA release forms — the team would be over that number with Davies making No. 24.
"We have some time to work out what our roster will look like once we get all our issues squared away with Fabian," Lagerwey said. "We don't know exactly what will happen, but we could have as much as a couple of weeks."
Davies, who is still in the U.K., is not expected to join the club until next week sometime and will not be with the team when it faces the New York Red Bulls on Saturday.