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Newcomer Gregorio ready to go

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Just a day after the FIFA international transfer window opened up, Real Salt Lake coach John Ellinger confirmed that newcomer Adolfo Gregorio would likely play this weekend.

"He'll be sub eligible," said Ellinger. "He won't start or anything. (He) has to earn his spot, get some sub time and see how he does from there."

If he plays with the same level of intensity that he's practiced with since joining the team a month ago, a starting spot shouldn't be far off for the 22-year-old midfielder.

"He works hard. He's very fit and very fast," said Ellinger. "He's an excellent dribbler, who can run at people and beat them."

He's also very good at crossing balls into the box from his wing midfield position, an aspect of Real Salt Lake's attack that has been sorely missing this year.

RSL acquired Gregorio in a trade with the Colorado Rapids more than a month ago. Even though he spent all of last season with Darlington FC of the English Second Division, his rights still belonged to Colorado, which selected him in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft.

Gregorio said that playing in England really helped sharpen up his speed of play.

"I learned to get it and play it off quick, and just look for that open space," said Gregorio. "It definitely helped my possession."

Knowing he could train but not play for Salt Lake because of FIFA restrictions, the past three weeks have been somewhat frustrating for Gregorio. But at the same time, he hadn't played a game since May 7, so the past three weeks have really helped him get into shape before he was thrust into the Real lineup.

Plus, he says he loves soccer, even if it's just practice.

"Even if I'm not in the game, I love this lifestyle and I love what I do," said Gregorio.

The California native is one of just three newcomers who've joined the team during the FIFA international transfer window. Jamaican defender Robert Scarlett and Guatemalan defender Gustavo Cabrera are both now eligible to play for RSL when their work visas get approved within the next week.

"With the addition of these three players we're a better team," said Ellinger.

SEEKING ANOTHER: Even though RSL just added three new players, Ellinger wouldn't rule out the possibility of another before the MLS roster freeze deadline on Sept. 15.

"If we can find another player between now and the end of the season, we'll look into it," said Ellinger. "Other teams are still looking for players. I won't go into details, but we had a couple calls yesterday, one from a team trying to trade one of their better players at this stage of the season."

Ellinger said he was stunned by the development.

SHOULD BE READY: Even though RSL defender Eddie Pope left Saturday's game in the 63rd minute after aggravating an ankle sprain, Ellinger said the mainstay of the defense should be fine for this Saturday's game with San Jose.

"He probably could've worked through it, but we were already down three goals and just made the decision to go with another forward and get him off."

Pope has missed eight RSL games this year, but only two of those games have been because of injury. Five were because he was with the U.S. National Team, while another was the result of a red card suspension.


E-mail: jedward@desnews.com