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2015 RSL Resolutions: Find time for youngsters and less-experienced players

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Over all of 2014, Real Salt Lake had some trouble integrating younger and less established players into the team in a full and defined manner.

While it would be easiest to turn and look at Sebastian Velasquez for an example of this (he played only 222 minutes), there are better examples without the off-the-field problems that he experienced this year. We could also look at Carlos Salcedo (800 minutes), but central defense and goalkeeper are probably the two positions most dependent on continuity - so mixing and matching players can be difficult.

This isn't to say that either of them shouldn't have played more, but rather to temper our discussion somewhat.

Instead, we're thinking about Abdoulie Mansally, who played only 655 minutes despite being fit for most of the season and a good option on the left either defensively or in attack. Or John Stertzer, who struggled to find minutes outside of the World Cup absences until he suffered a season-ending injury in a friendly. Or perhaps someone like Cole Grossman, who deputized for Kyle Beckerman but couldn't find time outside of his absence - despite Beckerman needing time to rest after the World Cup.

It's a tricky thing, getting playing time for these less-established players. When a player underperforms or doesn't meet expectations, it can be hard to justify giving them playing time. But maybe, in 2015, that's something we can work on. It won't necessarily be the easiest thing, but with players aging, it's important that backups are ready to step into their shoes.

And maybe part of the problem is that we have players like Kyle Beckerman, whose shoes are very hard to fill. But it should be a priority for us. Maybe Real Monarchs actually lessens the problematic state of things — where last year we had the US Open Cup to run through, this year, we had nothing of the sort. Especially with CONCACAF Champions League coming around, our need for depth will be doubly important.