RSL looking for big-game goalscorers in offseason acquisitions

Jessica Haydahl

With Real Salt Lake falling at the death in both the MLS playoffs and CONCACAF Champions League in 2012, a retooled forward line was inevitable. With Saborio the only forward remaining heading into 2013, those changes are perhaps forcing RSL general manger Garth Lagerwey's hand.

One of the biggest issues that plagued Real Salt Lake's core group — together for four or five years — was a lack of goalscoring in big games.

During a discussion at Winterfest at Rio Tinto Stadium today, general manager Garth Lagerwey confirmed that, saying the top priority is signing two or three forwards capable of scoring in big moments.

"Five games, the five biggest games in the history of this building, we've scored one goal," he said. "We have to fix that. We have to try to bring more guys into the team that can score goals."

The scouting efforts by the team - bolstered by a first full season of scouting from RSL original Andy Williams, now head scout - have focused on finding strikers in Central and South America, Lagerwey said.

"Certainly some of it is economics," he said. "Brazil, for the most part, is out of our reach, but everything else, for the most part, is coming into our reach as our league grows."

To score those important goals, Lagerwey is convinced the team needs "special players" who can more readily force the issue.

"If you're going to win the biggest games, especially in a sport like soccer where it's very difficult to score goals, you have to have special players," Lagerwey said. "That doesn't mean big-price stars, but it means guys who are willing to take the responsibility to step up in the biggest moments and say, 'I'm going to score. The team's not going to score, I am.'

"We need to adjust our mentality, and we need to bring in players who are going to accept that responsibility," he said. "That's the only way we're going to change that pattern of always being pretty good but never being great. Our goal is to be great."

The top priority, Lagerwey said, is to find a striking contingent to maximize the team's goalscoring potential, with Alvaro Saborio continuing as the target man.

"We have Saborio, a guy that has scored more than 50 goals in the last three years," Lagerwey said. "What we need is a compliment to him. We don't need to rebuild our team. We need a guy who is going to succeed by playing in positions off of Sabo that can maximize our goalscoring potential and can score consistently.

"The solution is not going out and getting one big star forward to play with Saborio," he said. "It's getting two or three guys that can play and rotate and compete for spots and maintain our core philosophy that the team is the star."

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