On the eve of its departure to Portugal for two and a half more weeks of training camp, Real Salt Lake acquired Jordan Cila from Colorado, a player RSL coach John Ellinger believes will have an immediate impact.
Cila was a developmental player for the Rapids last year but still appeared in 21 games and recorded four goals and two assists.
"Picking up Jordan gives us experience. Jordan has proven himself in the league," said Ellinger, who coached Cila with the under-17 U.S. National Team several years ago. "He didn't fit into Colorado's plans, but we're glad to have him."
Cila, 22, is scheduled to join the team at John F. Kennedy airport in New York City tonight as the team heads to Lisbon, Portugal.
One player who won't make the trip is Jeff Stewart, formerly of the San Jose Earthquakes. RSL acquired Stewart in a post-Expansion Draft trade with Chivas USA last November and was hopeful the 24-year-old defender would recover from knee surgery to contribute this year.
Complications are arising from his rehab, and he's being forced to consider early retirement.
Another injured Real player, Chris Brown, will travel with the team to Portugal to continue rehabbing the ankle on which he recently had surgery.
Defender Michael Lookingland, whom RSL acquired in the supplemental draft, won't make the trip, even though he's still on the 28-man roster. The 6-foot-2 defender is returning to Bucknell University to catch up on schoolwork before rejoining the team in California in mid-March for two more weeks of training camp.
"We're obviously comfortable with our roster," said Ellinger. "We have some good forwards and a couple of solid defenders and a couple of good midfielders. We still believe a great deal in D.J. (Countess) as a goalkeeper. We think he'll have a break-out year, and he's got the ability."
BACK TO WORK: Now that his UEFA Champions League tour is over, John Ellinger is ready to turn his attention once again to coaching Real Salt Lake.
While his RSL players relaxed for four days between training camp sessions in Florida and Portugal, a friend invited Ellinger to go to England to watch two former youth U.S. National Team players participate in Champions League games for their respective European clubs.
Ellinger was in Liverpool Tuesday to watch Bayern Leverkusen and Landon Donovan lose to Liverpool 3-1. He then traveled to Manchester on Wednesday to watch Jonathan Spector and Manchester United lose to A.C. Milan 1-0.
Ellinger jokingly said he tried unsuccessfully to lure his former players to Real Salt Lake.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN RIVALRY: The fan clubs of RSL and the Colorado Rapids are forming a rivalry cup to be presented annually to the winner of the season series. This year the teams play four times.
RSL is encouraging fans to log onto www.realrapidscup.com, and vote on the name of the Cup competition that will be presented to the fan club of the victorious team.
INAUGURAL TELECAST: Utah's Telemundo affiliate (KEJT 50/KULX 51) will broadcast Salt Lake's preseason game with Columbus originally played on Feb. 13 this Sunday at 2 p.m.The game was part of the Tom Fitzgerald Memorial Soccer Festival in Tampa, Fla., a game Real won 2-0. It was Salt Lake's fourth preseason scrimmage but first for recently acquired defender Eddie Pope.