Real Salt Lake's squad depth has been bolstered in the offseason after losing a few vital pieces. What's the big picture look like?
With Real Salt Lake picking up more depth in the draft - and with the supplemental draft still to come and at least one more striker to arrive - let's take a look at the squad depth. Preseason officially started today and the team travels to Arizona on Monday.
A quick glance at a positional depth chart, below, reveals some interesting observations.
First, the word of the day is "competition." Especially in the midfield. Looking toward the start of the season, it's hard to see who starts: Luis Gil may be absent with the U.S. U-20s unless they crash out quite early in the CONCACAF U-20 Championship. The final match is on March 3. Who, then, starts, if not Gil and Grabavoy?
It depends on the initial approach to the match, I suppose. And obviously enough, it depends on the fitness of the squad. While I'd like to see a Velasquez-Grabavoy pairing, we may see a slightly more defensive-minded setup, especially as Nat Borchers may miss out. For me, it comes down to Velasquez and Grossman, but much remains to be seen. Now, how exactly Viana, Martinez and Stertzer rank among each other will be hard to say: Stertzer has been pegged as one to be ready to play in MLS just out of the draft,
Also of note is the gap up front that's continuing to shrink: Sandoval is expected to spell Saborio, and Findley will be battling for second or third spot - but who he's battling against should arrive soon.
We're well-stocked at full back for the first time in what seems like ages: Beltran and Wingert are the assumed starters at right and left back, respectively; Palmer and Mansally are the backups.
Finally, while there might be question marks about our depth at center back with the departure of Jamison Olave, you'll see it does indeed look bright. Testing Aaron Maund against the rest of the candidates will be of the utmost importance.
Goalkeeper: Rimando, Attinella, Fernandez
Right back: Beltran, Palmer, Wingert, Martinez
Left back: Wingert, Mansally, Beltran, Schuler
Center back: Borchers, Schuler, Watson-Siriboe, Maund, Salcedo, Wingert, Palmer
Defensive midfielder: Beckerman, Alvarez, Grossman
Central midfielder, outside spots: Grabavoy, Gil, Velasquez, Grossman, Viana, Martinez, Stertzer
Central midfielder, outside spots (defensive-minded): Grabavoy, Grossman, Alvarez, Martinez, Stertzer
Central midfielder, outside spots (attack-minded): Grabavoy, Gil, Velasquez, Viana, Martinez, Stertzer
Attacking midfielder: Morales, Gil, Velasquez, Viana
Forward: Saborio, Findley, Sandoval