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Why the Borchers trade buried RSL's 2015 hopes

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

In one fell swoop, Will Johnson has distanced himself from the good work he did at Real Salt Lake and the connections he made with the supporters.

His tweet immediately following tonight's loss to Real Salt Lake is the sort of 'salt in the wounds' stuff that never sits well with a prideful — but scorned — fanbase. And while it's one thing to see Nat Borchers applaud fans at Rio Tinto Stadium following the match, it's another thing entirely to see this sort of talk out of a player that revitalized his career here.

But while we're upset about that, let's take just a moment to think about the Nat Borchers trade. It's the sort of thing that had a distinct impact on the season ahead, and while that itself didn't force us to change our plans, other events did.

Carlos Salcedo talked himself out of a position here, and he's profiting for it — financially, certainly, for Chivas in Mexico, but also when it comes to his standing in the world's game. But at the end of the day, our plans relied on him being with the team, and that was part of why the Borchers trade made sense. It opened up room for one of the most exciting young defenders in the league.

But when that mess went down, the plan Garth Lagerwey had set into motion with the trade of Borchers to Portland was stymied. It was a move designed to give RSL control of their situation and get something for the player, rather than lose him for nothing. But in doing so, rather than lose two players to the expansion draft, they lost three for a modicum of control they also lost not long after.

For reference, here's Lagerwey on Dec. 8, 2014.

"I know Nat didn't want to leave, but we simply couldn't work out a way to protect him as part of the expansion process. Understanding that staying was Nat's first choice, we were able to at least give Nat the choice as to where to go."

But, weirdly, that Salcedo situation started well before that — Nov. 24 — and the team was unable to truly respond. Yes, Salcedo was protected, and yes, he was sold for some money, but what good did that do the team? It's hard to say without knowing how much allocation RSL received in the process, but it sure seems like the two weeks between the Borchers trade and the Salcedo statement didn't quite go as planned.

Regardless, there are other things that made the Borchers trade less palatable. The biggest one? Chris Schuler's injuries flaring back up and costing him the season. It was always a risk making him a crucial part of the starting lineup, and that risk reared its head. It hurts because 2014 was a great season for him, with his only significant time missing spent only because Nat Borchers steel cranium broke Schuler's orbital bone.

And there we are back at the beginning — back at Nat Borchers.

Yes, Will Johnson, that trade does look sweeter for you every game, doesn't it? But please do kindly remember how the community embraced you and your sometimes petulant on-field attitude, and please stop rubbing salt in our wounds. It sure does hurt.