Alvaro Saborio spots RSL's new striker in the stands. Or perhaps he doesn't. - George Frey
We're in search of a striker — one who will support our tactical setup and help usher in a new era for Real Salt Lake.
We know what four of our strikers are like — they're all pieces of the puzzle that fit snugly into their holes, and that's certainly no bad thing. With our incoming striker — one of the last signings of the season, no doubt — we'll be hoping to get somebody a bit different than what we've got.
We have Alvaro Saborio, who plays in the prototypical target man role. It's a vital part of the way we play — he's there as a sort of release valve, as he's able to hold off defenders and relieve pressure on the midfield on defense. He allows us some effective time to recover.
We have Robbie Findley, whose speed is legendary — and he stays in more central than wide positions. He is potentially an important tactical addition.
We have Joao Plata, who is quick and spry, if a little small. How exactly he functions at the club remains to be seen, but in my preliminary thinking, I see him as a foil to Findley. Of course, how I see him is of little concern, so take all that with a massive grain of salt.
Devon Sandoval is essentially the opposite: He's not particularly little, he's strong, and he's reportedly good in the air. Those all sound like good things, especially as he's hoisted as a backup (of sorts) to Saborio in terms of player ability.
What, then, is left? We're in need of somebody that supports our tactical setup, who can distribute the ball well, who is fast, who scores goals by the bucket loads, who is the paragon of — oh. I mean, yeah, a perfect striker would be nice, but let's be ever-so-slightly realistic here.
But if we do get somebody who, like Garth Lagerwey and Jason Kreis have said, is quick, strong and good with his feet, we'll be in a good spot. Do we need a 20-goal-scorer? It wouldn't hurt. More goals from the midfield wouldn't hurt, either, though, and maybe that's important to think about, too. Still, a new striker wouldn't be scoring goals in the midfield particularly, so that's not the most pressing concern.
We essentially need a player who supports our tactical approach. The addition of Robbie Findley and Joao Plata allows us an opportunity to alter our tactical approach when needed, but neither innately support the system as is. Sure, Findley has played in the system before, but he was never the piece that completed the system — nor was Fabian Espindola, for all his incredible qualities. Both, of course, add unique, important elements.
If I'm to play manager for a minute, I'd wager we need a player who is willing to make those brilliant runs down the middle — think Robbie Findley at his best — but is also equally capable of attacking from deeper positions, running at players and forcing open space for other players to run into. Is that perhaps an idealistic expectation? Well, a bit, yes. But until we've got further information about who we're bringing in, there's not much to do but to be idealistic.