John E. Sokolowski-US PRESSWIRE
Joao Plata's arrival has put Real Salt Lake's roster in a near-complete spot, but questions remain: Will Lagerwey and Kreis move to a 28-player roster, or are we set to add only one player — period?
Update, 5:15 p.m.: Garth Lagerwey has revealed that we could 1) sign Khari Stephenson, and there's thinking in that direction; 2) we could sign a couple homegrown players. 3) With Sandoval likely to sign, Stephenson potentially signing, a striker coming in, and one or two homegrown players coming in, we might end up at 30 players. Garth specifically mentioned 29 — which I could see as one HGP, Sandoval, Stephenson, and that striker we're all waiting for.
Read on for more speculation on these sort sof things, but let this information color your reading a bit.
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Real Salt Lake's forward corps has reached a point that might be somewhat close to completion, but with one — maybe two, although probably one — big piece yet to arrive, judgment will wait for another day.
The addition of Joao Plata to the squad certainly strengthens, but exactly how much that's the case remains to be seen. He remains an unproven quantity, and although it's easy to rush to judgment based on his lackluster statistics at Toronto FC, it's worth considering that nobody at what was almost certainly the worst MLS club in 2012 shone through statistically.
Further, the addition of Joao Plata brings us to an even four international slots used — meaning we still have two available for our use. (We'd have four if it hadn't been for that meddling Ellinger.) Those players? Not big names, so to speak: Enzo Martinez, Joao Plata, Carlos Salcedo, and David Viana. Ah, green cards.
Also interesting is the fact that we're now at 25 members of the roster. We are certainly signing one more, but might we add more and spill over the 26-man-mark that was so prominent in the past two years? If our salary cap is under control — and having offloaded three big-hit players, I think it should be in a good spot — then perhaps it leaves us open to use those two roster spots. Or, hey — maybe we'll even use all 30. That'd be dreaming, though, wouldn't it?
With today's latest roster release, we've learned the following: Andrew Weber, former Seattle Sounders GK, has left preseason, while we've invited Mark Pais, a goalkeeper who was an unpicked 2013 SuperDraft candidate. It really would seem we're trying to hold four goalkeepers on the roster, although this may just be a training thing, by and large. I really haven't the foggiest on this.
We also know that Khari Stephenson continues forward in preseason, which is an interesting thing. I'd be entirely surprised if he signed, but at the same time, I'd not be too massively shocked. I mean, Luis Gil seems pegged for that left-center midfield spot for now, as are Sebastian Velasquez and David Viana; Velasquez, it seems, is the only one that might slot in to the playmaker spot in anything approaching a comfortable fashion.
SuperDraft pick Devon Sandoval is continuing forward with the club in preseason, although he apparently remains unsigned to this point. Brock Granger, a right back picked up in the Supplemental Draft, is also continuing forward. Sandoval seems a good bet to make the squad; Granger less so, but both have a certain chance to impress. Fellow Supplemental pick Max Wasserman is not with the club during preseason and is very unlikely to make the squad.
Finally, Real Salt Lake academy prospect Benji Lopez, who has shown well with the U.S. U-18s and incredibly well on the academy stage, is continuing in preseason. Could he become the third HGP on the 2013 roster after Carlos Salcedo and Lalo Fernandez? Perhaps, but let's see if he continues to the Desert Diamond Cup before we speculate too heavily.
Hopefully in the coming days, those questions will be answered and our squad will reach a point of solidity.