2013 Player Profiles: Rich Balchan's season scuppered by injury

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Rich Balchan was signed by Real Salt Lake at the beginning of 2013 to help fill in a squad that was at its biggest ever - he was the 30th player on the roster.

Formerly a Columbus Crew first-round draft pick, Balchan was seen as a full back option at RSL, and indeed, he played there in a fair few reserve games. But a shoulder separation in late April against LA Galaxy's reserves saw him out for six months - most of the season.

It was an unfortunate blow for a third-year player whose career was already injury-spotted, but he returned to training within the year and looked a better player for it. But with no appearances in the 2012 or 2013, there was still a considerable question mark hanging over his RSL career.

2014 sees Balchan as someone vying for four positions, which may help in his hunt for minutes. He's best as a full back in our system, and he's certainly made somewhat in the Wingert mold. But he's also a player that might see time at center back if needed, or in a pinch, as a defensive midfielder.

Balchan's flexibility and the promise he showed in training peg him as a player who can fit into a dense squad, but he'll have to remain injury-free to get there.

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