Mathis traded for Cunningham
SALT LAKE CITY -- Real Salt Lake general manager Steve Pastorino and head coach John Ellinger continue to retool for the 2006 season with the announcement today that the team has acquired eight-year MLS veteran forward Jeff Cunningham in exchange for midfielder Clint Mathis.
"RSL looks forward to welcoming one of MLS' most lethal goal scorers into the lineup. Jeff's speed and guile will invigorate our attack - and all of our attacking players should benefit from the energy he brings," Pastorino said.
Cunningham ranks seventh all-time in MLS history in goals (74) and shots (472); and second all-time in Game-Winning Goals (24) behind teammate Jason Kreis (30). Cunningham finished fourth in MLS during the 2005 season with 12 goals (and three assists) in 26 appearances for the Rapids. He also tallied one goal in the post-season. He was traded to Colorado from the Columbus Crew in exchange for the Rapid's First Round Pick in 2006 MLS SuperDraft on January 14.
In 2005, the 29-year old was selected to the Sierra Mist MLS All-Stars for the first time in his career. He scored two goals against Fulham FC in the 4-1 win over the English Premier League squad on July 30 after coming on as a second half substitute for New England Revolution MF Clint Dempsey in the 68th minute. He was also named to the MLS Select Team that lost 5-0 to Real Madrid on August 23 at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid, Spain, appearing for 45 minutes.
The Montego Bay, Jamaica native established himself as one of MLS' fastest and most dangerous strikers during his seven year career with the Crew. He is tied with Brian McBride as the all-time leading goal scorer in Crew history with 62 goals. He ranks second in Crew history with 43 assists in 182 games played. He also scored three goals and recorded five assists in 16 postseason games with Columbus.
Cunningham moved from Jamaica to the United States at the age of 14 and became a U.S. citizen on November 13, 2001. He was part of the U.S. men's national team that participated in the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup in France and participated in World Cup Qualifying match against Trinidad and Tobago on August 17. He has earned a total of nine caps in five years. He is expected to report into RSL's Training Camp on February 1, 2006, when the team begins its 2006 Preseason Training at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
Mathis was a mainstay in the midfield for RSL where he played in 27 games, all starts, tallying three goals and four assists for the expansion club. He joined RSL on January 6 making his return to the MLS after spending one year with Hannover 96 in the German Bundesliga.