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Five reasons RSL should be looking for a new center back

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Real Salt Lake needs at least one new center back. Here's why.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

5. Old Man River

Jamison Olave is a legend to most Real Salt Lake fans. They can recall the time that he saved the Claret-and-Cobalt’s CONCACAF dreams with a late header and even the time he help prevent the big name LA Galaxy from claiming the MLS Cup in the 2009 final. "This has happened, but the river keeps rolling on anyway."

This season has not been the kindest to the 34 year-old veteran, just take a look:

While this is without doubt Olave’s biggest mistake of the year, this kind of sums up his 2015 season. Not really knowing where to cover, not really marking his man, time has taken its toll on Old Man RSL. While Olave, like the Mississippi River, can keep rolling along, is it really the best thing for the organization?

4. The Number 5

Today’s number is five; that's the total number of matches that Chris Schuler played this year. The list is so short we can show you his complete season stats in an image about as big as an iPhone.

While the 28-year-old is the best center-back on the squad — not to mention one of the best in the league — he struggles to find consistency or even take the pitch for that matter because of his injuries. Let’s be clear, however, we are not advocating that Schuler be drop from the team, we are simply stating there needs to be a clear, strong replacement in his absence.

3. Elias Vas . . . Who?

The 22-year-old defender was brought into the Claret-and-Cobalt fold to replace the late Carlos Salcedo – late because he is all but dead to us. The highly touted Guatemalan youth regular was a regular starter between mid-April to mid-May but for all intents and purposes fell off the radar for the remainder of the season. Yes, he started a match or two here and there but Aaron Maund was more of a regular than Elias Vasquez and he did not even appear for the Real Monarchs. So where did he go?

2. "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance." – Martin Luther King Jr.

Speaking of Aaron Maund:

And now it’s Vasquez’s turn:

The majority of RSL’s center-backs were youth and at times it showed. Whether it was youthful exuberance or simply ignorance, silly fouls in silly places put the Claret-and-Cobalt in some rough places. At times we saw frustration get the best of RSL’s young center-backs.

1. Simple Economics

290,000 simoleons, smack-a-roos, green-backs; 290,000 bucks. Yes, that was the 2015 salary of Olave. He was the 14th highest paid defender in the league. For cashing such a big check, Olave’s stats and contributions to the organization was subpar.

In other words, the average salary of a defender in Major League Soccer is $159,855 — almost half of that of Olave. While not all of these defenders are excellent, there are defenders in the league that perform well beyond their paygrade. For instance, Matt Hedges of FC Dallas had a $135,000 cap hit in 2015, his team was best in the West, conceded only 39 goals, and is currently vying the Western Conference Champion title. Lest I forget to mention, Hedges is also the captain of the team. Dallas has accomplished all these feats in no small part thanks to Hedges who is paid below the league average.

What I am saying is, salary does not necessary reflect the current quality of player — in Olave’s case it reflected the past and not the present. So with $290,000 dollars and good scouting, RSL could easily find the right center-back for the team — if not two.