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RSL keeps Cassar, Morales didn’t want to leave: What just happened?

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Javier Morales is leaving Real Salt Lake, RSL is keeping Jeff Cassar — we’re breaking down what we know and what we don’t.

Seattle Sounders v Real Salt Lake Photo by George Frey/Getty Images

If you were asleep yesterday after a particularly stressful Tuesday, you’d be excused for missing out on some big news that’s just rocking the Real Salt Lake fanbase.

First up — and this is chronological — Javier Morales announced a press conference set for tomorrow. The text of his announcement is particularly relevant in this case, because we can read a lot of meaning in it.

There have been a lot of rumors about my announcement last week and unfortunately most of them are wrong. I am not retiring and I am not leaving because I want to.

I’ll give a press conference tomorrow to clarify everything.

What’s that mean, exactly? Well, it’s pretty clear from this. Javier Morales is leaving Real Salt Lake, full stop. I don’t think there’s much room for interpretation any more. His statement that he isn’t retiring is as clear-cut as it gets.

What does it mean? We’ll have more tomorrow. For now, we’ll just wait for clarifications from the man himself. It’s worth noting that the club has been largely silent on the matter, with the only real official statement being that Morales always has a home at Real Salt Lake.

And then, within a couple hours of that particular announcement, Real Salt Lake announced that coach Jeff Cassar was being retained. We know that it’s potentially a three-year deal, but we’ve also seen reports that it’s a one-year contract with unilateral club options. In fact, in an interview with Salt Lake Tribune reporter Chris Kamrani, Craig Waibel offered the only real true clarification we’ve seen.

"All decisions will be based on performance and results moving forward," he said. "It's a deal for 2017 that I think will solely be judged on results."

That report from Kamrani included another Waibel statement that explains the decision.

"There was an overwhelming endorsement from the players themselves for the coaching staff," Waibel explained.

That first statement (and last in the article referenced) is curious. It makes clear that it’s a single-year deal with a potential to continue at the club, but there’s one sentence in here that stands out.

"All decisions will be based on performance and results moving forward.”

If we’re to be overly emboldened in our opinion, we might assume that decisions weren’t based on performance and results in the past. And perhaps that’s a good thing, because you can’t bring up a new coach without breaking a few eggs — or something like that. Whatever you think of this move, I think we can all agree that three years is a generous amount of time to allow a coach to learn on the job. While we don’t know that it’s the case, we can make that assumption without losing too much sleep.

“Moving forward” — that’s the key, and it’s going to be very interesting to see what comes next.