Real Salt Lake finally got the transfer window target it was after. RSL general manager Garth Lagerwey announced Wednesday the signing of midfielder/defender Robbie Russell eight days into the MLS transfer window.

A Ghana-born U.S. citizen, Russell has spent the past seven years in Europe.

"He's exactly the type of player we want. He is (like) Nat Borchers. He is an American player that's had success over in Europe and become a better player," said Lagerwey.

Russell should be arriving in Salt Lake City today, making him eligible to play in next Monday's home league match against Toronto FC.

Russell, a Duke University graduate, was one of the secret trialists in Utah last month and during his tryout he had a faster 40-yard time than RSL speedy striker Robbie Findley.

"We are extremely pleased to be adding yet another talented, intelligent and experienced American professional returning from abroad," said RSL coach Jason Kreis. "Robbie is an athletic and dynamic player who can play multiple positions and will immediately add strength to our core. We couldn't be happier to finally have this deal done."

The 29-year-old was originally drafted by the L.A. Galaxy in 2001 but opted to head overseas instead. He spent one season with Sogndal in Norway, followed by three additional seasons in Norway with Rosenborg. The past two seasons he played for Viborg in the Danish Superliga.

Lagerwey said Russell can play any of seven positions, three in the midfield and all four along the backline.

RSL still has one roster spot remaining with Russell's signing.

"By adding Robbie in midfield and defense, we're pretty free to go after an attacking player at this point," said Lagerwey.

COACH RIPS CUNNINGHAM: Toronto FC coach John Carver had some very harsh words for Jeff Cunningham following Tuesday's final of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship against Montreal.

Cunningham missed what should've been an easy tap in goal in the 89th minute for Toronto. Asked about it, Carver told reporters, "You want my honest opinion on that? I am thinking, 'How did he score 99 goals?' That's what I thought."

"If you're a poacher and you have got desire, no matter how you put the ball over the line you put it over the line."

The criticism could serve as extra motivation for Cunningham in Toronto's next league match, which just happens to be against his old team this Monday.


E-mail: jedward@desnews.com