RSL's youth movement: How under-24s are shaping 2013 successes

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

MLS is doing it's annual 24-under-24 list, so I've taken a look at our 24-and-under players and looked at the impact they've had for Real Salt Lake.

Jeff Attinella, goalkeeper, 24: In the absence of Nick Rimando and after the season-ending injury to Josh Saunders, Attinella stepped into a starting role and didn't look phased. He was, however, left hanging to dry by his defense in a 4-3 loss to New York and a 2-1 loss to Sporting KC. Impact: Some.

Carlos Salcedo, central defender, 19: Few would have expected young Salcedo to get many minutes this season, and perhaps with good reason. But he was forced into action early on and has hit nearly 1,000 minutes. He sometimes looks a bit green, but he's not only showed vast potential, but great ability already. Impact: Much.

Aaron Maund, central defender, 24 (as of today): He only played in three matches, and he looked a little shaky as a defender when he did. He's been fantastic for the reserves, though, and there's a sense that he's a season out from being a solid MLS-level defender. Impact: A bit.

Abdoulie Mansally, left back, 24: It's easy to forget that Mansally is still a young defender, given how long he's played in the league. He's not a perfect full back in our system, and he sometimes gets caught in odd positions, but he's a tactical oddity that provides us real flexibility. Impact: More than none, less than a lot.

Luis Gil, central midfielder, 19: Everyone's talking about the kid now that Mexico has reportedly made an approach for his international services. Sure, yeah, alright. We're not going to focus on that, first because we don't have evidence, and second, because it doesn't seem like a real possibility.  At any rate, Gil has become a starter in the last year for Real Salt Lake — a mean feat, surely, even if he has points to improve upon. The tap to his potential has been opened and soon, I suspect our cups will runneth over. (Or something like that, yeah?) The start to his season was inconsistent, but five goals and three assists is a marked improvement over last year — and the year's hardly over. Impact: Lots!

Cole Grossman, central midfielder, 24: His impact has been limited by a concussion early in the season, but Cole Grossman scored a game-tying goal against Portland Timbers late on that may have elevated his import. He's played less than a full match for RSL so far. Impact: That goal! Ooooh, that goal.

John Stertzer, central midfielder, 23: Talented and a player that would seem to fit our system, but injury took him away for the season. It's hard to imagine he'll get minutes in the run-up, but one really never knows. Impact: 33 minutes in two matches.

Sebastian Velasquez, attacking midfielder, 22: Sometimes, I think Sebastian Velasquez should have his own TV show. He's been an interesting player for us, and certainly this season can be marked as a success for him. He's doubled his minutes, impressed some, and been domineering for the reserves. I suspect he's in that spot right now between the reserves and the first team, and when he reaches that next rung of the ever-metaphorical ladder, he'll be huge for us. Right now? Impact: Mr. Dribbles.

Olmes Garcia, forward, 20: I'm often flabbergasted when this one gets on the ball, and for good reasons. He's just innately talented, and his ability to make a defender look like a schoolboy is heralded far and wide. He's got plenty to improve upon, but he's here for the long haul. Impact: Five goals, four assists. Backup Mr. Dribbles.

Joao Plata, forward, 21: He's quick, small, and strong. And by small, I mean incredibly short, which has rendered him a pesky little guy against some of the league's defenses. He seemed to have lost his shooting boots (are we allowed to use that phrase in the U.S.?) but his assists have made him one of our top strikers. Impact: Plenty, and more than we expected.

Devon Sandoval, forward, 22: He's a bit of a work-in-progress, but Devon Sandoval has showed that he's the heir apparent to Saborio's hold-up throne. But shoehorning him into that spot ignores his footwork and perhaps his glorious hair. Impact: Made RSL fans into Princess Bride oft-quoters.

Not listed, as they haven't played: Lalo Fernandez, Rich Balchan, Enzo Martinez, Benji Lopez

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