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RSL adds to roster while Morales eyes return

Published August 17, 2011 11:11 am

Addition of ex-Whitecap Wagner helps offset loss of Chris Wingert, who broke his wrist.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Lehi • Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis said the move came independently, but the timing of losing defender Chris Wingert to a broken left wrist and the signing of defender/midfielder Blake Wagner was fortuitous.

Wingert broke his left wrist in the defeat at Toronto FC. Meanwhile, Wagner, who had agreed to terms with Salt Lake last week, is expected to provide depth for this Saturday's road trip at the Houston Dynamo.

Wagner, released by Vancouver, played 82 minutes in the RSL Reserves' 2-0 win at FC Dallas last Tuesday.

"We've kind of had our eye on having a left-footed outside back for a long time," Kreis said. "We've had our eye on Blake for a long time. It was a wait-and-see move. I think he fits into our system well ... it's going to take some time for him to completely understand what we're asking of him, but we do feel like it was a fortuitous move."

The 23-year-old Wagner is playing his fifth season of Major League Soccer. He was with FC Dallas between 2006-09, then spent the first half of this season with the Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

Wagner has been used primarily at left back throughout his career. Terms of his contact were not released.

"Anything that happens in this league is a surprise," Wagner said. "It happens to everybody. I have to go through it like anybody else."

Wagner doesn't expect to start but said he is ready if called on.

"Everyone knows that Salt Lake is a very good team," he said. "Anyone who comes here knows they'll have to fight for their spot. That's what I'm here to do."

Morales still a month away

There was a Javier Morales sighting at Tuesday's practice, which is in itself not unusual. However, the Real Salt Lake midfielder, left ankle bound with an ice pack, was jogging.

Morales, out since May 7 with a fracture-dislocation of the left ankle, even predicted that he'd be back training with the team in two weeks. Most likely his return to the training field is at least another month away.

However, Morales maintains a sense of humor about his situation. When asked if he had consulted with RSL trainer Tyson Pace about a hurried time schedule for a return, Morales answered, "Every day. He don't like it."

Morales, who only recently began lightly jogging, was injured 38 minutes into a home game against Chivas USA during a challenge by Marcos Mondaini.







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