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Squad Depth: With injury crises popping up, few remain without minutes


Real Salt Lake's 2013 depth has been widely heralded, and with good reason. Of the 30 players on the roster, 26 have seen the pitch for an MLS match, and the benefits of that depth have surely been seen with the team currently sitting in first place in the league.

But let's take a look at those players who, by and large, haven't been involved — any player with fewer than 100 minutes, starting from the top of the list. What do they have to do to see more time?

Cole Grossman: 77 minutes. The player affectionately dubbed "The Kid" by his teammates suffered a concussion early in the season that saw him out for significant time, so his 77 minutes isn't too much of a surprise. He's come back into hopefully full fitness by this point, and he's had some strong reserves performances since his return. Still, it's hard to see him past Sebastian Velasquez and Khari Stephenson on the bench at this point, so he will surely have to remain patient.

John Stertzer: 33 minutes. After suffering a shoulder dislocation that required surgery, rookie Stertzer is finally back in light fitness training. This is ostensibly a Good Thing™ but it's difficult to see him finding more time this season, supposing most stay fit. It'll likely be a while before he's back in full training, so for now, he too needs to keep some patience about him.

Enzo Martinez: 0 minutes. He's a Generation Adidas player, and that may have saved his RSL career once or twice. How Enzo Martinez, who has been here since the beginning of 2012, responds to the adversity involved in not seeing any senior minutes would be interesting to really get a grasp on. He's at times looked masterful for the reserves, and at others, he's looked lacking — in composure and confidence. If he remains for a third year, he will surely have to see minutes then — but the odds of him getting on the pitch in 2013 are bound to the fates of our full backs.

Rich Balchan: 0 minutes. Like Stertzer, Balchan suffered a shoulder dislocation that required surgery. Balchan, though, is out for at least most of the season, having been placed on the disabled list. By MLS roster rules, he must sit out at least six matches before exiting the disabled list, and with 31 men on the roster, it's hard to see him getting back in this year, but with others who could be placed on the disabled list if necessary, he could be ready come the end of the season should there be an injury disaster.

Lalo Fernandez: 0 minutes. For the first time in his RSL career, Lalo's on the bench regularly now. That's obviously a forced thing, but it does leave him in a position in which he can get minutes. As RSL's fourth (now third, following Saunders' season-ending injury) string goalkeeper, he's never going to be likely to get minutes, but for two weeks here, he's just one injury away from seeing the pitch.

Brandon McDonald: 0 minutes. There has been a grand total of 90 minutes he could have picked up, having only been here for, what, a week? This one's no surprise. We could well see him this season — could he come in and secure a spot?

Benji Lopez: 0 minutes. The newly signed homegrown player probably won't see first-team time this season, and given he's been here for under a week, that he has no minutes is to be expected. He's certainly one for the future.