Editor's note: These three writers penned this before the MLS Cup Final and the release of the players involved in the re-entry draft. Remember, players involved in the first round of the re-entry draft may still be signed at negotiated rates before the second round.
Brandon McDonald - A player who was stellar for D.C. United during their run last year but came here in the summer after a less-than-ideal early 2013 campaign with the DC club, McDonald just hasn't had the chances we expected him to when we acquired him. He's made only three official first team appearances since his arrival, though he was impressive in all three. I expect McDonald will be a victim of the tremendous depth we have at the center back position. Nat Borchers, Chris Schuler and Carlos Salcedo already sit above him in the depth chart and with Kwame Watson-Siriboe set to return next season I'm not sure how much of a future McDonald has in an RSL kit. Throw in the fact that he comes with a fairly large contract and I'd say you have the perfect recipe for a player who won't be with us next season.
Rich Balchan - Balchan is a player who has consistently impressed everyone in training but just hasn't had the chances he was expecting when he signed here. He was sidelined through injury early in the year and after being placed on the IR list never made an appearance with the first team this season as a result. That being said, it's worth noting that Kreis consistently named him as an option at fullback as recently as two weeks ago. I'm 50/50 on Balchan staying or going and wouldn't be surprised either way.
Luis Gil - First things first this is in no way a criticism of Luis. He's second only to Robbie Findley in the 2013 'RSL Supporters' Scapegoat of the Season' award race despite having what many neutrals would consider a very impressive campaign. Both his ability to track back and defend & his awareness with the ball at his feet have improved immensely since last season and he's really started to look like the star young player many of us were expecting when we acquired him. Those improvements are actually what make me think he'll go. It's no secret that Kreis has taken a lot of time to personally work with, instruct and groom Luis for the next step in his career and I think Gil may the player whose future with RSL rides more on the Kreis contract situation then any other. IF he does go it's likely that he won't move to a top European club (despite the fact that he was often linked with them as a teenager) but I wouldn't be surprised if mid level clubs in major European leagues begin to look Gil's direction come January.
Wow, what a hard question. Well, I'll go ahead and guess and hope I'm wrong, but I think Gil might be out. Not because RSL doesn't want him but because he wants to play in Europe and his deal is expiring. He has done enough at a young age that it wouldn't be surprising to see a Euro team offer him more than RSL can. If he comes back I'll be shocked if it is a long term deal (though extremely happy). I'll be very surprised if Josh Saunders is back based on his age and our depth at GK plus his salary will likely work against him.
I also think there is a slight possibility that Nedihno could be gone, it would only happen if Gil is back long term and we need the money, and I would say at this point, it seems very unlikely even if Gil comes back, but I wouldn't be shocked to see that happen.
Enzo Martinez's salary makes him a candidate to leave too I mean he makes more than any of the following Velasquez, Plata, Mansally, Palmer, Salcedo, Sandoval, and Stephenson. If memory serves me right he was the only field player to not get an appearance that was on the roster for the full year. I don't think he ever even made the 18. It is too bad, because he really is a great talent and has a super-high soccer IQ.
I'll also add my bit about why I don't think Kreis will be joining the list of those departing from RSL. I think RSL gives him the best chance to take over the USMNT the next time there is an opening (which at the earliest will likely be in 4 years). He has a great young team that at its peak could be even better than the team in 2011 that fell just short of winning CCL. Kreis is a competitor and if RSL is smart the CCL challenge will hold a lot more sway to JK than $ and trying to build from scratch an instant winner that has to be a league superpower immediately. Garth and Jason are great friends and he won't have that at another team and frankly Kreis can do anything he wants here, be as bold as he can imagine and it will be supported.
Enzo Martinez - been with the team for 2 years now and still hasn't played a minute for the first team. Bringing him along slowly like Gil is fine, but Luis at least got minutes his 2nd year. It may be better to shop Enzo around to see what trade value a GA player has. Now if he can be successfully groomed to fill in for Beckerman instead of Alvarez that changes things.
Josh Saunders - while it was nice to have an quality backup GK, Attinella did a very decent job in his few starts. It may not be worth keeping Josh's high salary on the books. If the Rapids drop Pickens, they may be in the market for someone to mentor Irwin.
Khari Stephenson - We never really got to see the 'rocket shots' he's known for, it just doesn't quite fit the way we play. Yes, he's an excellent experienced midfielder and able to keep possession well, but with Gil, Velasquez, Grabavoy and Morales he's well down on the list of potential starters.