Andy Williams compares his current plight to getting beat by the river card in a game of Texas Hold 'em.

In the week leading up to the start of Real Salt Lake training camp, which got under way Monday, Williams was informed that for salary cap purposes the club was waiving him.

Considering that earlier in the offseason RSL had agreed to pick up the option on his contract, the decision came as a huge blow to Williams, who's appeared in more Real Salt Lake games than any other player in team history.

"I kind of took it as a blow, and I was kind of (upset) at the time and didn't think I deserved it," said Williams, 29. "It's just the way the business is, and I just have to move past it."

Unfortunately for him, moving on is going to cost him a bundle.

After being waived, every other MLS team also declined to pick up Williams' contract. Real Salt Lake figured that would happen, and the two sides have since agreed on a new — and significantly smaller — contract.

"I'm going to have to be doing other stuff this year that I didn't plan on doing," said Williams. "It's just teaching me a lesson, don't take anything for granted."

Last year, Williams was the sixth highest-paid player on RSL at $110,000. It's rumored that his new contract, once finalized by the league, will be between $30,000 and $40,000 less.

"I think the world of Andy as a player and a person, I just love the guy," said Real coach John Ellinger. "I'm just glad it's going to work out."

Besides the pay cut, what's most disappointing to Williams is the fact he's no stranger to this scenario. Before being selected by Real Salt Lake in the 2004 expansion draft, Williams had played for five MLS teams in seven years.

With what's transpired in the past week, Williams knows nothing is guaranteed with RSL beyond this year.

"Every game is going to be like an interview for me, and that's how I'm going to take it," he said.

With the arrival of Freddy Adu in the offseason, Williams knows the competition for playing time in the midfield is going to be fierce. Nonetheless, he's confident he'll crack the starting 11 quite often this year. After all, he was a big contributor to RSL's late-season surge last year.

BIG IMPRESSION: With 35 players fighting for 28 roster spots, trialist Scott Palguta, 24, knows he's facing an uphill battle. So far, the defender is off to a good start.

Two days into training camp, he's already impressed Ellinger with his fitness and work ethic, which bodes well for his chances.

"As a trialist, I don't really have the luxury of playing myself into shape. I have to make a good first impression from the first minute," said Palguta, who played with Rochester of the USL First Division the past two years. "I've always prided myself on my work rate and fitness level and trying to be a good pro."

Palguta, who spent a week training with RSL after the team's final regular season game last year, says he feels comfortable playing either left back and center back.

That versatility could land him a roster spot.

HOLDING PATTERN: One of the two notable absences at RSL training camp thus far is Daniel Torres. He's being delayed in his native Costa Rica with work visa issues, and it could go on for three more weeks.

The defender isn't scheduled to meet with U.S. Embassy officials in Costa Rica until Feb. 26. Torres and RSL are both trying to get that date moved up, otherwise he won't be able to join up with RSL until the team heads to Madrid, Spain on Feb. 26.


E-mail: jedward@desnews.com