Like he's done every game day for the past two seasons, Chris Brown had a Starbucks Coffee in hand when he arrived at Rice-Eccles Stadium to get the juices flowing.

Realistically, the Real Salt Lake midfielder didn't need any artificial enhancements.

It's doubtful anyone was more fired up about Saturday's game against San Jose then Brown, a former Earthquake himself. After playing in Kansas City for the first five years of his career, Brown spent the 2004 season in an Earthquakes uniform.

"It was probably my favorite year of all my years in the league," said Brown. "They take a lot of pride in having decent people in the organization, which really helps with team chemistry."

Even though San Jose has made some significant roster changes since last year — most noticeably the absence of Landon Donovan — Brown really enjoyed playing against the five or six "dear friends" he still has on the team.

"It's not a revenge thing for me. I loved it there," said Brown. "It's a blessing to come here, since this is where my wife is from."

Brown started Saturday's game, and played 80 minutes before being replaced by Evan Whitfield. It was a very productive half for Brown. He played a tireless game running up and down the right sideline, and just before halftime turned in one of the more exciting sequences of the game.

He made a 30-yard dribbling run into the box, held possession despite being surrounded by three defenders, and the managed to get off a shot, albeit a fairly week one.

PUTTING IN OT: Real Salt Lake keeper D.J. Countess saved 13 of 15 shots, an unheard number of saves. In four games prior to Saturday's game, Countess had saved 17 of the 24 shots he'd faced.

CALLING IT QUITS: Earlier this week, San Jose defender Troy Dayak announced that he'll be retiring at the end of the season. During his eight years with the Earthquakes, Dayak, 34, started 115 of 122 games he was available for.

Early this week, Dayak was named the head coach of the expansion California Cougars in the Major Indoor Soccer League.

A BIG WEEK NEXT WEEK: Of course RSL wants to win every game, but there's definitely a little bit more riding on next week's game at CD Chivas USA in Los Angeles.

Not only will RSL be looking for its first road win of the year, but the game will be the first of four meetings between the two MLS expansion teams.

Don't be surprise either, if Salt Lake owner Dave Checketts and Chivas part owner Antonio Cue make some sort of wager. During last week's Derby between the Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA, Cue made a bet with Los Angeles general manager Doug Hamilton. Chivas ended up losing 3-1, and Cue ended dying his hair bright green — the Galaxy's color.

GETTING A TASTE: Nikolas Besagno, Real Salt Lake's No. 1 pick in the 2005 SuperDraft, was on the bench for Saturday's game against San Jose, even though he wasn't listed as an available substitute.

Ellinger never realistically had intentions of playing Besagno, 16, but wanted him to experience an MLS game up close.

Besagno spent this past week training with his Real teammates for the first time this year. Instead of having Besagno join his professional club, coach Ellinger wanted the teenager to focus his efforts with the under-17 U.S. National Team in Bradenton, Fla.

In RSL's reserve game against BYU's club team on Wednesday, Besagno entered the game at halftime, and was praised for his aggressive play by Real assistant coach Peter Mellor.


E-mail: jedward@desnews.com