Real Salt Lake's reserves lost their penultimate game of the reserve league season, losing 1-0 to LA Galaxy, but more interesting things can be drawn from that match.
Justen Glad is going to be one excellent player
And that's telling because I think he's already good — maybe not quite physically ready for MLS, but not far off. He played at left back on Saturday — another position we've seen him in at RSL, a group that now includes left back, right back, center back, and defensive midfielder (never really looking out of place in any of them, too.) He got forward well, attacked when he could, and defended resolutely.
Will 2015 be his year, or could he see first-team minutes in 2014? Stranger things have certainly happened.
Our academy produces fine players
The difference between LA Galaxy II and RSL's academy players was razor-thin, and that says something very exciting about our academy. Plenty of the LA Galaxy side came through the academy, but our players are still there. They ranged the gamut, from Jose Hernandez, the exciting attacking midfielder, and Danny Acosta, who nearly had a magical moment in the match, to substitutes Miles Stray, a Justen Glad lookalike defender, and Evan Waldrep, a midfielder who slotted in without too much issue.
We're well on our way to having a clear pipeline to the first team, and a USL Pro side will certainly help.
MLS reserves against USL Pro has been really weird and I'm glad it's almost over
Reserve league action was fine, but once we started playing against professional teams, we struggled. Surprise, surprise — those teams are playing for points in their league, which is a different 'league' from the MLS Reserve League, which is in such a weird transitory state that you'd swear it was turning into Zuul or something.
Seriously, though, LA Galaxy played like a side with something to lose. With their win, they made it to the USL Pro quarterfinals. So, really, yes, they did.
I'm glad we've had reserve league action in the intervening time between our USL Pro team and the non-USL-Pro setup, but it's not been the most meaningful competition — especially with matches spread out all too sparsely.
Our USL Pro team starts in 2015, it would seem. That's exciting.