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Three RSL players who took their opportunities in 2015

Real Salt Lake's 2015 has been one to forget, but these three players have taken their opportunities with both hands.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

With the season winding to a potentially early close, it's easy to get down on the team and sink into a relative state of despair.

But as bad as that is, 2015 hasn't been a complete bust. Some players made the most of their chances so far, and while it hasn't always translated into results, it's worth at least thinking about.

Jordan Allen

2014 was an interminably rough season for Allen, who started so brightly and then was out for the length of the season. There are few worse things for a young player, and it's something we've seen basically end careers early, or at least put them in a stop-start routine that sees never really capture their potential.

Allen has dealt with his injury return extremely well. He's been fit, he's played for U.S. youth international teams (and pretty well, at that), and he's made himself a bench regular and a potential starter. While his last match wasn't necessarily his best, that's a blip on his consistent radar.

He has miles to go before he can be that starting player in RSL's lineup, but those are miles he could easily complete in the course of a year — or less. When Allen becomes a starter is up to him, to fate, and to coaching decisions.

Aaron Maund

If you'd asked me a year ago if I thought Aaron Maund would be one Real Salt Lake's key players in 2015, I would have given you a wearisome sidelong glance. It's not that I thought he was an awful player, but he was error-prone, and it had cost RSL on occasion.

But injuries to Jamison Olave and Chris Schuler gave Maund the chance he needed to play week-in, week-out, and he's shown himself to be an effective center back in that time. When he re-signed in the offseason, I wasn't dismayed, but I was surprised.

Consistency of minutes is an important thing for a young defender, and having a quality, experienced partner is equally so. While Maund and Vasquez often struggled together, Maund and Olave (for the most part, at least) have been a good pairing.

It's hard to say if Maund's issue was confidence or simply not playing, but he's come on leaps and bounds this year, and he's already started more than half of the season. If RSL is looking to improve at center back next year — and I'd argue they have to — Maund should be part of the discussion.

Justen Glad

Yeah, he's 18, and yeah, he's only played in six RSL games, but Glad has showed himself very well for a player of his age and experience.

He perhaps hasn't played as often as he'd have liked this year — his time with Real Monarchs was somewhat limited because he was needed as a substitute for RSL. That's just fine, though, because it's giving him important game day experience that he wouldn't have been getting otherwise.

He hasn't been perfect when playing, and he has, at times, been a little error-prone, but those are things you expect from a young player. He's taken his opportunities well, and that will serve him well as he looks to assert himself in the squad in 2016.