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RSL signs 8, finalizes roster with 26 players

Published: Thursday, March 1 2012 4:56 p.m. MST

Real Salt Lake team members from left, forward Fabian Espindola (7), midfielder Javier Morales (11) and defender Chris Wingert (17) congratulate forward Alvaro Saborio (15), right, after Saborio scored a goal against the Seattle Sounders during the first half of their playoff MLS soccer match Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011, in Salt Lake City. Real Salt Lake won 3-0.

Jim Urquhart, Associated Press

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Real Salt Lake finalized its roster this afternoon by announcing the signing of eight players to round out its 26-man roster for the 2012 season, which gets under way on March 10 at the L.A. Galaxy.

The eight new signings include four draftees, three trialists and one homegrown player.

Three of the rookies, Enzo Martinez, Diogo de Almeida and Sebastian Velasquez, were selected in the MLS SuperDraft, while Emiliano Bonfigli was selected in the Supplemental Draft.

Lalo Fernandez, 19, joins the team from the RSL-Arizona Academy. He'll serve as the No. 3 keeper behind Nick Rimando and Kyle Reynish.

RSL's three trialist signees are defenders Leone Cruz and Terukazu Tanaka, along with midfielder Jonny Steele. Tanaka and de Almeida are outside backs who will serve as the primary backups to Tony Beltran and Chris Wingert, and they should see plenty of playing time this season.

"As an organization, we couldn't be more pleased to officially welcome these players into our side, as we believe they represent all the characteristics the RSL shield stands for," said RSL general manager Garth Lagerwey. "The caliber of the players that were fighting for roster spots during our preseason made for some difficult choices, but those are exactly the types of decisions you want to make when you're filling out a squad. This team will represent our fans proudly both on and off the field and should allow us to seriously contend for trophies on multiple fronts once again this year."

RSL returns 10 core players who've been regulars in the starting line-up for the past five years.

Here's a look at RSL's 26-man roster:

Goalkeepers: Lalo Fernandez, Kyle Reynish, Nick Rimando.

Defenders: Tony Beltran, Nat Borchers, Leone Cruz, Diogo de Almeida, Jamison Olave, Chris Schuler, Terukazu Tanaka, Chris Wingert.

Midfielders: Yordany Alvarez, Kyle Beckerman, Luis Gil, Ned Grabavoy, Will Johnson, Enzo Martinez, Javier Morales, Nico Muniz, Jonny Steele, Sebastian Velasquez.

Forwards: Cody Arnoux, Emiliano Bonfigli, Fabian Espindola, Paulo Jr., Alvaro Saborio.

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