1. The team, as ever, remains the star
I don't say this out of some desire to trot out the same narrative we see regularly (and it's a good one, but it's still a bit of a narrative) — the team is the star, and we don't need a single player to catapult us to victory. When we don't hitch our wagon to a single player — whether that's through marketing or through roster-building — we keep situations like this one from becoming an issue in the first place.
2. Really, don't hitch our wagon to a Lampard
I know it's fun to talk and think about what big-name players might succeed at Real Salt Lake, but expressing jealousy at the signing of Lampard (while decrying our giant video board at the stadium we have now, but really, please stop assuming those are somehow mutually exclusive occurrences) ignores the fact that this has all gone downhill very quickly.
3. And really, really, don't hitch our wagon to a Manchester City
Seriously. If you want to hate on Dell Loy Hansen, be my guest, but at the very least, we know that Real Salt Lake is his highest priority. NYCFC seems little more than a subplot for the City operation. It's not just bad — it's awful. It makes New York City FC and MLS look like some awful joke being perpetrated by mindless automatons who have zero knowledge that they're part of some elaborate scheme.
4. And for the love of all that is good and holy, don't lie to your fans about this stuff
That's probably the part that's been the worst for them. Manchester City, New York City FC, and MLS seem to have lied about all this Lampard stuff, and that just makes things worse. Was it a loan to Manchester City? No? Oh. Was he ever on the books in MLS? I guess not. Sure, you could do something like this to keep people on their toes, but why not just go with a safe, tried and true approach of actually signing players that you are announcing you're signing?
It's not that we're likely to end up in one of these scenarios, but if we're smart about it, we'll have nary a thing to worry about. Except, you know, playing games, winning those games, maintaining a solid roster, dealing with transfer negotiations, finding a place for Carlos Salcedo — so, you know, not that much, right? Right? Oh.