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RSL's defensive depth shored up, but top quality center back still missing

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Real Salt Lake's made their first official acquisition of the offseason, leading us to wonder: What will the defense look like come the season's start?

Danilo Acosta and ... Danilo Acosta's head.
Danilo Acosta and ... Danilo Acosta's head.

Real Salt Lake's roster is slowly starting to come together — and by slowly, we mean that they officially announced the first signing of the offseason: Danilo Acosta, who we reported the then-unofficial signing of three weeks ago.

But it's official now, and it's starting to give us the first lay of the land with our defense. Let's just talk about our depth for a minute, shall we?

You see, this shores up the very back of the roster (which isn't to say Acosta couldn't be some miracle cure, but really, let's not heap expectations like that on an 18-year-old) but not really the front portion. Of course, he might also be groomed for the Kyle Beckerman spot, too, but that's a longer-term prospect for the talented defender.

Combine this with the expected re-signing of Phanuel Kavita and the continued growth of Justen Glad, and it looks like RSL is set for the next three to five years. But is that really going to solve it for the next year? Probably not, even if Chris Schuler re-signs.

Expect Real Salt Lake to bring in a top-quality center back to be that first name on the roster, with Aaron Maund and Jamison Olave as the two battling for that second starting spot.

If you want consistency in your defense — which you do, of course — this is the highest priority. With young players, consistency is very, very rare, and we witnessed this when we put our young center backs out there repeatedly.

It's a tricky balance to strike, though. We also need to be able to give players like Justen Glad opportunities at this point in his career, but we also need to focus on building a truly great partnership again. If you remember, every time RSL was at its best, there was a center back partnership right there — except 2013, of course, so let's just leave that thought behind us for now.

The more pressing question, then: Does RSL have the rotational quality to support a top-level center back, and if they do, will there be enough consistency within that group to truly function?

That's a harder question without an easy answer, but if Jamison Olave, Aaron Maund, and Justen Glad are the three in rotation with someone at a high level of play, maybe things could just work out well enough.

Defensive depth chart

Center backs

  • Jamison Olave
  • Aaron Maund
  • Justen Glad
  • Phanuel Kavita, who is expected to re-sign
  • Danilo Acosta
  • Chris Schuler?

Left backs

  • Abdoulie Mansally
  • Tony Beltran
  • Justen Glad
  • Boyd Okwuonu

Right backs

  • Tony Beltran
  • Boyd Okwuonu
  • Jordan Allen