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The draft is done, so how did Real Salt Lake do?

Well I went into the draft with very low expectations and knowing that RSL has a fairly solid roster with only a few openings.  We know Chris Seitz is gone, as is Yura, so there were two open slots at the start of the day.  With the trade of Clint Mathis to LA for a flip flop of the 16th and 15th picks, we had 3 open spots.

After looking and reading a bit about Collen Warner, he might a Real deal in the draft, he was projected to be picked in the top 20 and had invites to trial with teams in Germany and France.  RSL ensured he would forgo those trials if we selected him.  The well produced videos from the University of Portland show that he isn't afraid to mix it up, has some quality in delivering set pieces into dangerous areas and likes to get into the area to support the attack.  All of those are qualities I like.

The next pick that I think could be a big one for RSL is the big 6' 4" defender Chris Schuler, he could be an impact player and looks to add depth to the RSL central defenders.  I am not sure about the 2nd round pick of Justin Davis, Garth tweeted that he was a left back but everything in his info online says he is a midfield/forward players, so it could be interesting.

more thoughts (including notes from the just complete conference call) after the jump

So the first note is a clarification on the two trades, the first trade was RSL sending our rights to Clint Mathis and the 16th pick to LA for the 15th pick.  Later we made a deal to trade our 3rd round 2011 pick to LA for their 3rd round 2010 pick.

So Garth noted that the team went into the draft with a list of 12 players that could make a difference for RSL and knowing that with Clint's request to go to LA (to be closer to his family) that we would need a 2-way midfielder and they hoped that Collen would be there.  They had a conversation with him about forgoing his two trials in Europe if we drafted him (he had turned down the MLS request to sign before the draft), and he agreed.  It was interesting that Garth mentioned that playing for the Champions was a point of note in their conversation.

Next up was Justin Davis and the questions about what position does he play, he played all of 2009 as a forward but had played a couple years as a left footed defender, he played left back at the combine and when interviewed Justin thought his best position in the MLS would be left back.  The team likes his size 6' 0" and his speed, I like a defender who knows what to do with the ball around the goal.

The 3rd round pick of Chris Schuler came about because LA asked us if there was a player we wanted to get this year and we would swap picks with them,  it was mentioned that Schuler was projected by some to be a first round pick, so when he was still there we made the deal.  Garth mentioned that Bruce Arena said he thought Chris would have gone in the first round as well.  Garth said he was the best center back at the combine and he is big and athletic in the mold of a Jamison Olave (those are big boots to fill).

It was mentioned that RSL played the season last year with just 6 defenders and the move to pick up 3 defenders with our 4 picks shows that we will likely be increasing that number as the busy 2010 schedule will likely take a toll on all the positions.  Jason mentioned there are still a few players from the recent trip to Argentina that the team is interested in but that will be decided later on, he also said the team now will look for a replacement for Yura, but they didn't feel that they could get one in the draft.

I still think the draft system is the wrong way to go for MLS, but without anything to replace it, I don't expect it to go away anytime soon.  I am hopeful that Warner will be able to make an impact and get some playing time for RSL, Garth was very impressed with his physical abilities and after watching some video of him, I think he might just be a keeper.  For the others, only time will tell.  It will be interesting to see how the pundits grade the RSL draft, but when you are the defending Champions, do you really need a lot of pieces to improve your team?

I would RSL a B if I were grading the draft, they showed a willingness to make a couple trades to ensure they got the players they wanted, including a guy in the 3rd round that even Bruce Arena thought was a first round quality guy.

This is what the RSL roster looks like heading into the preseason:


#       Player                 Pos.    Ht.       Wt.      Birthdate   

12  Jean Alexandre              MF        5-11        185         08/24/1986  

--   Kris Banghart                    DF         6-1         190         03/01/1988  

 5   Kyle Beckerman              MF        5-11       165         04/23/1982  

 2   Tony Beltran                    DF         5-8         150         10/11/1987                       

 6   Nat Borchers                   DF         6-2         175         04/13/1981 

19   Pablo Campos              FW        6-3         200        11/29/1983  

23   Raphael Cox                  MF        5-6         140        07/07/1986 

--   Justin Davis                      DF         6-0         170        05/06/1988  

21   Rachid El Khalifi          M/F        5-10       156        06/16/1979  

16   Fabian Espíndola        FW         5-9         160        05/04/1985 

10   Robbie Findley               FW        5-9         165        08/04/1985 

22   Nelson González          M/F       5-6         156        09/22/1988 

20   Ned Grabavoy                MF        5-7         150        07/01/1983 

33   David Horst                    DF         6-4         200        10/25/1985 

 8   Will Johnson                   MF        5-10       155        01/21/1987  

11   Javier Morales               MF        5-9          165        01/10/1980 

 7   Alex Nimo                        MF        5-5         135        03/21/1990                           

25   Tino Nuñez                     FW        5-8         185        08/22/1984     

 4   Jamison Olave                DF         6-3         210        04/21/1981  

24   Kyle Reynish                  GK        6-3         190        11/03/1983     

18   Nick Rimando                GK        5-9         185        06/17/1979  

 3   Robbie Russell               DF         6-1         200        07/16/1979 

--   Chris Schuler                   DF         6-4         185        09/06/1987  

--   Abe Thompson                FW        6-0         170        01/12/1982       

--   Collen Warner                  MF        5-10       170        06/24/1988  

77   Andy Williams                MF        5-8          170        09/23/1977             

17   Chris Wingert                 DF         5-11        170        06/16/1982