Rich Balchan, who only just had his option declined by Real Salt Lake, will be left somewhat frustrated by his time at the club.
After arriving in 2013, he impressed for the reserves before suffering an injury that cut his season well short. He proved a quality player, though, and the club continued to stick with him, keeping him on through 2014.
2014 rolls around, and he suffers injury after injury, and he never got a real run of games in the reserves or the first team. Still, for the most part, he looked good - until he played in one of the worst games we've seen from RSL since the start of the Kreis era. In a 1-0 loss to Chivas USA, Balchan was left wanting by his performance. He was substituted on for Chris Schuler and moved to right back in the 39th minute.
In the 71st minute, he was replaced by forward Sebastian Jaime as RSL entered desperation time. During his 32 minutes playing, Balchan made a dismal pass that allowed Cubo Torres to get into position to push Chivas USA into the lead, then later made an awful tackle to concede a penalty that Nick Rimando graciously saved.
It's a shame that Balchan's time at the club is marked by such an awful performance. He's showed before that he can be very good, and his three other first-team performances in 2014 indicated as much. It's hard to say how Balchan recovered from that disarray, but it's clear that he probably won't be carrying on at Real Salt Lake.
Could he catch on at another MLS club? It's difficult to say at this point. He was always a promising player, and he's only 25 — still somewhat young for a defender. But maybe he'll find NASL or USL Pro more suited to his level, and the regular playing time could be just the thing he needs to get his career on track.
Editor's note: This is part of a series of player profiles recapping the 2014 season and previewing the 2015 season. Player ratings were compiled via a vote by RSL Soapbox writers. Statistics are via mlssoccer.com.