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2016 Player Profiles, #17: Chris Wingert

A great example of the mantra “The Team is the Star” which helped build this club into what it is, Chris Wingert’s love for the fans and this city should be noted and remember.

MLS: Real Salt Lake at FC Dallas Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Wingert is a player with a long and storied history for Real Salt Lake. Originally moving to Salt Lake from Colorado in July of 2007 as part of a trade that sent a few draft picks to the Rapids in exchange for his services. He immediately became an impact player for RSL playing in 16 games that first year and starting 12 of them. Since then, he has started 20 or more games every season he has spent here.

At the time when Chris joined the squad the times were changing as Jason Kreis and Garth Lagerway began to assemble that core group of players that in one way or another has been a part of RSL for the last 9 years. He has seen time at both left and right back fairly consistently with the rare appearance at center back when the situation merited it — mostly due to injuries or typical center backs being otherwise unavailable.

In 2014, after 8 years with RSL, Chris Wingert was left available for selection in the expansion draft. New York City FC and former head coach Kreis took advantage of his availability. Chris moved back home to New York for one season before being released by NYCFC and moved back to Real Salt Lake.

Wingert’s return to RSL came with a new role for the seasoned defender. In this case he would have to fight for time with Tony Beltran and Demar Phillips rather than walking into a starting role. His skill and experience definitely came as a boon for the club, as having either he or one of the other outside backs coming off the bench is never a terrible thing. He was called upon quite often this season, playing in 20 games, starting in 18 of those.

His contribution in 2016 was needed due to injuries and a host of other issues with the back line throughout the season. While his experience and skill were nice to have either as a starter or coming off the bench, his lack of speed could be dangerous when exposed. Generally his positioning could make up for the lost step or two, but it’s fair to say he was caught out once or twice. Always a solid guy to have in your locker room, Chris has been an example of what and RSL player should be both on and off the field. A great example of the mantra “The Team is the Star” which helped build this club into what it is, his love for the fans and this city should be noted and remembered.

Wingert is another player to keep an eye on this offseason. It’s very likely that he is left unprotected in the upcoming expansion draft and he could be selected by a team looking for his skill set. There’s also the potential for a pre-draft trade, as has happened in years past, to make sure that RSL doesn’t lose someone seen to have a greater value to the club long term. There’s also a chance that he could get a new deal, and if it’s the right number he could be a great asset to the team.