Real Salt Lake midfielder Andy Williams may be back on the field earlier than expected.
The team's specialist at the attacking-midfield position missed the home opener Saturday due to a groin injury he sustained in Los Angeles on April 9 against the Galaxy. Initial reports said Williams would be out four to six weeks, but now it seems Williams could be back on the field April 30 against San Jose.
"He's feeling pretty good," coach John Ellinger said.
Still, the team is being cautious and keeping Williams out of Saturday's game in Dallas. "We're taking it slow," Ellinger said.
Saturday, Ellinger moved Clint Mathis into Williams' position. Mathis has experience as an attacking midfielder with the U.S. national team, and he spent Saturday fighting off Pablo Mastroeni and Kyle Beckerman in RSL's 1-0 victory over Colorado.
Ellinger said Mathis may not move back up into the forward position when Williams returns.
"We might play them both under Jason [Kreis]," Ellinger said. "We get more out of Clint when he is running the show."
After starting his first game against Colorado, rookie Luke Kreamalmeyer is feeling better than ever. Certainly better than he felt when he entered the game at halftime against the Galaxy. That day, Kreamalmeyer struggled in his first few minutes while playing in front of 27,000 fans.
"It was a confidence thing," Ellinger said. "It was a pretty overwhelming day for the veterans there, and I can only imagine what it would be like for a rookie like him."
The game against Colorado, however, was totally different.
"It was great to start at home in front of the home crowd," Kreamalmeyer said. "I felt confident on our home field."
Kreamalmeyer played 75 minutes before being replaced by recent acquisition Leslie Fitzpatrick, and did a decent job. He had one strong shot on goal but also struggled to hold the ball at times.
Now that Kreamalmeyer has established himself as a capable starter, RSL will have an interesting time in practice this week with Kreamalmeyer, Fitzpatrick and Evan Whitfield all competing for the start against Dallas.
"It's going to be a very competitive week," Ellinger said.
Saturday's game in Dallas likely will be broadcast locally on Fox Sports Rocky Mountain on a tape delay basis . . . The team is still looking for a suitable grass field to practice on in weeks leading up to road games. All the rest of the team's road games will be played on grass, instead of an artificial surface like at Rice-Eccles Stadium and the Spence Eccles Fieldhouse, and RSL officials are hoping to use Utah's women's soccer field. Officials say the field at Utah Valley State College is uneven, and they will not practice there again.
RSL at FC Dallas, 6 p.m., no TV