Tuesday, February 10, 2009

WCQ/RSL Roster/Escalada

Apologies for the lack of updates today. I've been under the weather. But there is some news out there:

Lot's of things happening on the WCQ qualifying front:

WCQ at Rio Tinto Stadium
First of all, Real Salt Lake announced today that it has been awarded a World Cup Qualifier at Rio Tinto Stadium. The match will take place on September 5th against El Salvador. Season ticket holders will have the opportunity for a first shot at tickets.

The match is not likely to have alot of consequence in Concacaf qualifying because of it's position in the schedule, and the fact that the two teams occupy opposite ends of the power spectrum in the Concacaf region. However, despite that it will likely be an event not to be missed. Having attended the previous Qualifier held against Costa Rica at Rice Eccles, I'm sure it will be a similar electric atmosphere and a chance to show off the fantastic stadium on ESPN2 to all of the followers of the US National Team.

US -vs- Mexico Qualifier

Wednesday night at Crew Stadium in Columbus will see the US take on El Tri in a renewal of the intense rivalry between the two bordering countries. Make no mistake, these two teams just don't like each other. The match may be a bit less competitive due to some missing faces from the Mexico lineup. See this positional analysis courtesy of Goal.com and this preview on Fox Sports.

Real Salt Lake Roster Tidbits
Keepin' It Real has learned that Luis Escalada was not offered a contract before coming to camp. Although some discussions had taken place, the team was not willing to put pen to paper without seeing him in action in the teams training camp. It's unknown what the exact status is, but I suspect this will unfold over the next couple of weeks.

It is also thought to be likely that Rachid El-Khalifi who is currently under contract with SC Cambuur in the Dutch Eerste Divisie will return to his club after the end of this weeks preseason stint in California. However, that doesn't mean we won't see him in an RSL kit. One possibility is that RSL may choose to try to bring him in during the summer window when his contract has expired with his current club. Presumably RSL has/or will file a discovery on the player if they like what they see.

Michael C. Lewis poses a question first raised here at Keepin' it Real: Despite being currently in camp, will Ian Joy be around for all or even part of this season? From a discussion I had with Ian last fall I know that he is homesick and wants to be closer to his daughter, but he also expressed disatisfaction with his financial situation. His comments at media day seem to indicate that these issues still persist. My guess?: he won't be around at the start of the season, and if he is it will only last until another opportunity comes up as teams in Europe re-tool at the beginning of the summer. But that's just my speculation.