Alvaro Saborio scored his first goal for DC United on Sunday, which makes me wonder — with all the former RSL players succeeding around the league, could you put together a solid, MLS-winning team complete of RSL's traded players?
Probably. But's let set some conditions, just to make it more interesting and less a listing of former Real Salt Lake players. First, they must be active MLS players, and they must have appeared in at least some games this season.
Here's the lineup, as well as some exposition on the choice made at that position.
Goalkeeper: Tim Melia, Sporting KC. Starter for Sporting Kansas City — and a good one at that. He's edged ahead of Josh Saunders, who has been good, but whose team hasn't performed quite as well.
Right back: Lovel Palmer, Chicago Fire. Everyone needs a solid full back, and usual Chicago Fire starter Lovel Palmer is this side's.
Center back: Nat Borchers, Portland Timbers. He might be known more for his beard than anything now, and that's fine. He's still quite good.
Center back: David Horst, Houston Dynamo. One of Houston's regular starting center backs.
Left back: Chris Wingert, NYCFC. Steady as ever, Wingert's a good choice at left back and in the center for New York City FC.
Defensive midfielder: Nathan Sturgis, Houston Dynamo. This was a tough one, partly because Sturgis played infrequently for Real Salt Lake in 2007 and 2008.
Central midfielder: Mehdi Ballouchy, NYCFC. We got the better end of the deal when we traded Ballouchy for Beckerman, but he's somehow developed into a solid goalscorer for New York. That gets him a starting spot in our midfield.
Central midfielder: Ned Grabavoy, NYCFC. One of the best players at that shuttling diamond position, especially in a possession-oriented team.
Attacking midfielder: Will Johnson, Portland Timbers. This isn't his best position, and you could arguably switch him and Ballouchy or Grabavoy, but he's played similarly for Portland and done well.
Forward: Fabian Espindola, DC United. Espindola's developed into a very good, mature player. Except when he's picking up red cards or getting suspended for several games for incidents with referees.
Forward: Alvaro Saborio, DC United. He's the newest addition to the Former RSL roster. We miss him already.
Bench: Josh Saunders, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Donny Toia, Collen Warner, Khari Stephenson, Atiba Harris, Robbie Findley. This is one of the more experienced benches in MLS. You have some hard-tackling with Harris, some long shooting with Stephenson, and some steady midfield play along the way. The bench is perhaps a little weak at forward, with only Robbie Findley available to fill that role.
Reserves: Kyle Reynish, Chris Seitz, Sebastian Velasquez. It's a little difficult leaving Velasquez out with the reserves in the cold, but he doesn't fit on the bench.
Coach: Jason Kreis. Really, there's no other choice. And that's why you get the midfield diamond in there, so it fits well.