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RSL: Ballouchy Not Going Anywhere

Almost as soon as he stepped off the plane, Real Salt Lake coach John Ellinger handed 17-year old Freddy Adu the job of team playmaker, a move many felt signaled the end for Mehdi Ballouchy, the central midfielder RSL acquired last year with the No. 2 pick in the MLS draft.

"Every team in the league has asked about Mehdi since we acquired Freddy Adu, wondering if he was the odd man out," RSL GM Steve Pastorino told the Salt Lake Tribune. "Absolutely not," came the answer. Ballouchy, who is just 20, actually spent most of last year playing on the left side of midfield-not his preferred role, but one he was forced to adapt to. Ellinger acknowledges that wide left "isn't an ideal situation" for the player, but neither he nor Pastorino wants to part with him. This means Ballouchy will likely remain on the left side of midfield, though he will undoubtedly get the chance to play inside while Adu is away playing for the US U20s in Canada this summer.

Meanwhile, while Freddy endured a fitful qualifying campaign in Panama, Chris Seitz, RSL's other young star, had a spectacular tournament, conceding just one goal in three matches. Ellinger hinted that Seitz, the No. 4 draft pick this year, could give mainstay Scott Garlick a run for his money in goal as early as 2008.

Read the whole story at Salt Lake Tribune »

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