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Real Salt Lake adds a defender, just not the one I expected

So if you read my blog you know that I firmly believe that RSL should bring back Ian Joy, in 2008 he was as solid of a outside back as you could want.  A injury in the Austin Aztexs exhibition match keep him from seeing any real action in 2009 and eventually he returned to Europe to rehab and take care of personal business.  Well he is back and looking for a team, but with his experience he doesn't come cheap, his salary last year was $125,000.  Without knowing the details of the new CBA and any potential move on the salary cap or roster spots, I can't blame RSL for taking a wait and see position.  

Ian is in town and has been training with the team the last few days, and I hold out hope that RSL will see the value in having a good defender who knows how to cross the ball and get involved with the offense, who has a heart and passion for the sport that few players can match, and sign him.  I think with as many young guys on the roster, having an experienced guy to help mentor them is a very wise move.

More after the jump:

So with today's announcement of picking up Rauwshan McKenzie off waivers, I wonder if perhaps the payroll is a big concern for the team:

With its preseason just getting underway, Real Salt Lake added another member to its backline today with the acquisition of ex-Kansas City Wizard defender Rauwshan McKenzie, who was claimed by the Utah side off of waivers. McKenzie will join up with the rest of the Claret-and-Cobalt for his first practice tomorrow, Thursday, Feb. 11 at Newpark Recreation Center in Park City from 1:00-3:00 p.m. MT. The practice session - RSL's first full-sided training of the 2010 preseason - will be open to members of the media and public.

Now entering his third season in Major League Soccer, McKenzie saw his first MLS action last season when he started in all five of his appearances in League play for Kansas City, going the full 90 minutes in four of those contests. The 23-year-old McKenzie made his professional debut with the Wizards on July 8, 2008, in a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal against the Seattle Sounders FC, the appearance coming in the same year he played in 11 of the Wizards' 12 MLS Reserve Division contests.

Kansas City selected McKenzie in the fourth round (53rd overall) of the 2008 MLS SuperDraft following his time as a four-year starter at Michigan State, where he earned All-Big Ten Rookie Team (2004) and All-Big Ten First-Team (2007) accolades as a member of the Spartans' defense. During his time in East Lansing, McKenzie would further hone his skills by playing three summers in the USL Premier Development League between the Michigan Bucks (2005-06) and Chicago Fire Premier (2007). A native of the Chicagoland area, McKenzie grew up playing his club soccer for Chicago Sockers F.C. a prominent youth soccer program based in Palatine, Ill.

I am left fearing that RSL may be operating on the cheap, when you look at the fact that McKenzie was one of those guys making league minimum last year ($34,000).  The 23 yr. old has only 437 minutes of MLS playing time, but at 6'1" and 185 lbs, he adds some size to the RSL defender ranks.  

While taking players off waivers can be risky, one only has to look at last years pickup of Ned Grabavoy to know that such a move can have great rewards as well.  I am still holding out hope that Jason, Garth and Bill will see the value in adding a guy who fits their template of being a team player, who is a good guy on and off the field.  In addition they get a player who has a great relationship with the fans of RSL.

It is too early to know what is going on but it looks like RSL has recognized that depth at the defender position is something that will be needed in 2010 as the team faces its busiest schedule ever.

OFF MY SOAPBOX