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RSL's first homegrown player, Donny Toia, would be a great dispersal draft pick

Real Salt Lake's first homegrown player, Donny Toia, took some time to make it in MLS. With the 2014 Dispersal Draft around the corner, could he be a good option for a homecoming?

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When Donny Toia joined Real Salt Lake in 2011 as the club's first homegrown player, he was on the roster as a forward. That didn't quite work out, and at some point, he was transitioned to playing at left back.

And at Real Salt Lake, that didn't really work out, either. In 2011, we still had Robbie Russell, and things were such that Tony Beltran played on the left or the right, depending on the availability of Chris Wingert and Russell. This left Toia without a clear path to earn minutes, and indeed, he never played a single one.

And at Real Salt Lake, that didn't really work out, either. In 2011, we still had Robbie Russell, and things were such that Tony Beltran played on the left or the right, depending on the availability of Chris Wingert and Russell. This left Toia without a clear path to earn minutes, and indeed, he never played a single one.

In 2012, Toia was released, and he left to play at USL PDL side FC Tucson — we know them well from the Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson. He made his way into the team there, and it looked like he could be a good fit at a lower level.

In 2013, Toia joined the ill-fated Phoenix FC, and he stuck with them for the year the club existed. He led the team in scoring with six goals and was nominated as USL Pro Rookie of the Year. A good little turnaround, to be sure.

In 2014, Toia joined the also-ill-fated Chivas USA, and he was one of their better, more consistent players. Now, that probably doesn't mean everything, but it's at least indicative of some quality.

Let's look to Alicia Rodriguez, who ran (and continues to run, despite the club's dissolution) SB Nation's Chivas USA blog, The Goat Parade, with aplomb and credulity. She wrote this about Toia in late July.

There are likely to be good games and bad games ahead for Toia. He may be a one-year wonder or a player who is truly embarking on a solid MLS career -- only time will tell. But as one of a select few to survive the cull (so far) of this 2014 season, what's impressive is that he's battled to stay on the team, but also become a starter, something that was surely not projected at the beginning of the season.

The MLS Dispersal Draft, in which Chivas USA's players get scattered to the four winds, is coming on Dec. 1, and Toia — if he's involved — is sure to be a player that gets some attention. While everyone else is focusing on the likes of Erick "Cubo" Torres, Toia will probably be quietly picked.

He was RSL's first homegrown player, and he only just started finding his feet in MLS this year. His development curve hasn't been as quick as it would've taken for him to stay at Real Salt Lake as a 19-year-old, but as a 22-year-old, he'd almost certainly stick around.

If he falls to our point in the dispersal draft, should we look at him? Obviously a Dec. 1 draft isn't ideal, especially if RSL remains in playoff competition. And we do already have two left backs, but there's going to be some reshuffling of the squad necessary after the expansion draft. If we lose Wingert or Mansally, we would do well to have an MLS-ready left back available — and the ties he has to RSL only make it a better story.

Who knows if he'll end up coming back, but if RSL is looking at players in the dispersal draft, he'll be one worth thinking long and hard about.