OK, my holiday trip to Vegas without a computer is over and while I enjoyed not being online for a few days, it is time to get back to business.
12 days of a RSL Christmas
9- Goals from Javi - In 2010 Javi scored 7 goals (his personal high in MLS) and I expect that next year he will be able to get a couple more goals. With so many players being able to score for RSL (13 had MLS goals last year), I believe teams will be forced to pay more attention to everyone on the pitch and this should free up Javi to get more chances on goal.
10- Assists from Javi - For Javi to prove himself to be a legit MVP candidate in MLS, I believe he will need to get at least 10 assists to go with an improved goal output.
11- Months of Paulo Junior - OK, actually 12 months and probably longer as his loan was extended for another year with an option to buy his contract outright from Miami FC (full press release after the jump).
12- Home wins - With a 17 match home schedule in 2011, 12 wins would be great, that would be one more than in 2010 and hopefully we can end with a 12-0-5 to make it back to back home undefeated seasons.
After the jump some other news:
Well, if you haven't heard Robbie Findley has ended up trying to become Robin Hood, he will try to rob the rich English soccer world (even at the Championship level) of some goals for Nottingham Forest. First he must secure a work permit, which should be no problem for him given his status with the USMNT and playing in the World Cup. He would be joining a team that is sitting in the middle of the Championship table (11th place). I think once Robbie stops worrying about contracts and get back to playing and learning the game the better off he will be, I think if he is given a fair shot that this could be the perfect place for him.
Official RSL press release on Paulo Jr.:
REAL SALT LAKE EXTENDS LOAN DEAL FOR FORWARD PAULO JR.
Deal Keeps Exciting Brazilian Attacker in RSL Uniform for 2011, with Option to Extend Contract through 2014
SANDY, Utah (Monday, December 27, 2010) -- Real Salt Lake General Manager Garth Lagerwey announced today that the club has extended the loan deal for forward Paulo Jr.from Miami FC of the USSF D-2 Pro League through the end of the 2011 season. As part of the deal, Real Salt Lake will also have the option to purchase the rights for the exciting Brazilian attacker through 2014 at the end of the year-long loan extension. Per club policy, financial terms of the deal will not be disclosed.
The 21-year-old Paulo Jr. - whose full name is Paulo Morais de Araujo Junior - will continue to occupy the fifth of Real Salt Lake's six International Player roster slots available to the club for the 2011 season, joining Argentineans Fabian Espíndola, Nelson Gonzalez, and Javier Morales and Costa Rican Álvaro Saborío on the current list.
"We are happy to have been able to work with Alejandro Taraciuk and Traffic Sports USA to extend the loan for this talented young player," said Lagerwey. "We expect that, after a full preseason with the team, Paulo will be able to grow and develop, and we hope he is able to take a big step forward in helping RSL as we try to win the CONCACAF Champions League and MLS Cup in 2011."
Noticing his four assists and team-high eight goals in 22 appearances for Miami FC through the majority of its 2010 campaign, Real Salt Lake acquired Paulo Jr. on Sept. 9 via a loan deal for the 2010 stretch run. The short-term move paid off well for the Utah side, as the exciting young attacker managed to score three times in two appearances in CONCACAF Champions League play, with two of those tallies sparking RSL to a 3-1 win over Mexican powerhouse Cruz Azul on Oct. 19 that clinched the top spot in Group A for the MLS side. Despite not completing the USSF D-2 Pro League campaign with Miami, the Brazilian impressed enough through the first five months of the season to earn a spot on the league's Best XI Team.
Before coming to the United States, Paulo Jr. began his budding career in the youth systems of Brazilian clubs Flamengo do Piaui and Ituano. He debuted professionally with Ituano in the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie C (third division) before signing with Miami FC in early 2009.
Today's transaction continues a fruitful offseason for the Real Salt Lake front office, which has reinforced its dangerous attacking corps through the re-signings of Paulo Jr. and Saborío - the 2010 MLS Newcomer of the Year - and a trade with the Portland Timbers that brought veteran MLS attacker and El Salvadoran international Arturo Alvarez to the Wasatch Front. Securing the services of these players early in the offseason will prove vital for the continuity of Real Salt Lake, which will begin its preseason in less than a month's time and return to the field of competition on February 22 in the first leg of a CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal Round series against its fellow MLS survivor to this point, the Columbus Crew. The return leg is set for Tuesday, March 1, at Rio Tinto Stadium, with kickoff set for 8:00 p.m. MT.
TRANSACTION: Real Salt Lake extends loan deal for forward Paulo Jr. with USSF D-2 Pro League's Miami FC through the 2011 season.
I am also very happy to announce that Dog4Deeds was able to make their goal before Christmas, and I will be going through the list of donors to get my raffle ready for either later this week or early next week.
OFF MY SOAPBOX