On This Date In Real Salt Lake History
January 20, 2006
After finishing the club’s inaugural season with a 5-22-5 record, just one point ahead of Chivas USA, Real Salt Lake held the second pick in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft. With a deep draft of former U.S. Youth internationals like Marvell Wynne, Sacha Kljestan, Patrick Ianni, Nathan Sturgis and Dax McCarty, it was a deep draft pool that would surely help RSL improve on that opening season record.
On draft day, the MetroStars traded up to the top spot, sending the fifth pick and Jason Hernandez to Chivas USA to select Wynne, leaving RSL with a lengthy list of players to bolster the lineup.
With the second overall pick, Salt Lake nabbed former Morocco Youth National Teamer Mehdi Ballouchy, a 2005 All-American midfielder from Santa Clara.
In his first season, Ballouchy earned a starting role under Head Coach John Ellinger, notching two goals and two assists while starting in 26 matches. One of only two RSL players to appear in all 32 matches, Ballouchy was a finalist for MLS Rookie of the Year, but lost out to Chivas USA defender Jonathan Bornstein.
He again was a starter in his second season at Rice-Eccles Stadium, but after 14 matches and a coaching change that saw Jason Kreis take over the helm, he was traded to the Colorado Rapids in exchange for Kyle Beckerman. Ballouchy now has 13 goals and 24 assists in 194 career MLS matches, playing for RSL, Colorado, the New York Red Bulls, San Jose Earthquakes and Vancouver Whitecaps FC before landing this year with New York City FC. Beckerman, meanwhile, is a cornerstone and captain for Real Salt Lake and a regular with the U.S. National Team.