What next? Real Salt Lake left needing squad refresh after big exits

George Frey

As the world turns, so too does our squad. Now that we've gone over who left, we must now wonder what it means for Real Salt Lake moving forward.

Goalkeepers

Reynish out, Attinella in.

It's hard to imagine RSL needs new goalkeepers at this point. Nick Rimando is one of the best in the league -- top three easy, to my mind. Reynish's exit isn't particularly painful, and it's the right move for him as a player. With Attinella and Lalo Fernandez battling for the backup position, Real Salt Lake should be well and truly strengthened.

Defenders

Olave out, Maund, Salcedo in.

Jamison Olave, when at his best, is world class. It sounds hyperbolic -- and maybe it is a bit -- but his pace, strength, and tackling ability are a lethal combination. It's just that, you know, sometimes his knees give out on him, and he's always got a little bit of pain, and sometimes he switches off. Yes, we'll miss him -- as a 2011 Borlave advocate, I feel that pain acutely -- but with the rise of Chris Schuler (and the recovery from injury, we hope) and Kwame Watson-Siriboe, we're surely in capable hands. (Er, feet.) Add in the arrival of Aaron Maund, who may or may not be quality, and the finalization of the signing of capable young defender Carlos Salcedo, and things look well peachy.

What may be needed is a deputy full back -- it's a role Will Johnson filled to good effect last year, and with only three genuine full backs on the roster (Beltran, Wingert, Mansally), it could be necessary. It could be that Maund is capable of playing there, and I'm certain I've seen Salcedo out wide in training sessions (and perhaps a reserves game, though I could be mistaken about that.) Additionally, Enzo Martinez received a good bit of training at right back, and maybe that'll be something Jason Kreis intends to call upon.

Midfielders

Johnson, Steele, Muniz out. Grossman in.

Will Johnson was a fantastic player for Real Salt Lake. This can't be much denied. He was all over the place -- almost literally -- covering buckets and buckets of ground. (That's an apt metaphor, right? Oh.) Jonny Steele was certainly less important, but he did play an important role, serving basically as Will Johnson Mk. II (or some such). Nico Muniz didn't play at all, so let's not worry about that.

Coming in, we have Cole Grossman, who will be fighting to win a place during preseason. He may be the sort of box-to-box player we need to replace Johnson, but I wouldn't expect he'd come in as a starter.

I'd wager that we need two more midfielders to even things up. Where exactly they come from, I don't know. Sebastian Velasquez and Enzo Martinez will be hoping to win more minutes, certainly, but let's also consider that Luis Gil could feature in these spots as well. Indeed, I'm starting to suspect that Velasquez may be a more natural option to deputize for Javier Morales.

Oh, Javier Morales. While we're at this, let's just note that his future is yet to be decided. If he leaves -- potentially to a Mexican club, as noted by Garth Lagerwey -- we'll be missing a very big piece of the puzzle. As much as I appreciate the abilities of Gil and Velasquez, I don't know that either is quite ready for the most important piece of our system on a full-time basis. I'd love to be proven wrong.

Ahem: I've been notified that I spaced the inclusion of David Viana in this list. I'm excited about him, and I really suspect he will play an important role. Will he be the piece of the attacking puzzle we need? Time will tell, but let's hope.

Forwards

Braun, Espindola, Paulo Jr., Bonfigli out. None in.

They're all gone. Well, save Alvaro Saborio, who remains as the sole striker at the club. Garth Lagerwey indicated that we were looking to sign at least two strikers, probably non-MLS, of a high quality. I mean, that follows, yes, but it's imperative. Thankfully, everyone involved at the club is well aware of that fact, and if I had to take a big bet on something, it would be that we'll sign three strikers, one of whom is young and promising, two of whom are less young and still pretty promising.

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