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Cassar on Morales exit: “He’s meant so much ... but we also have to move on.”

Javier Morales was talismanic at Real Salt Lake, and he’s now leaving. RSL coach Jeff Cassar spoke about him on ESPN 700.

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Philadelphia Union Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake coach Jeff Cassar acknowledged the departure of Javier Morales today in an interview on ESPN 700, calling him “first class” and heaping praise on him.

LISTEN: Jeff Cassar on ESPN 700

Cassar’s initial statement about Morales focused on the impact he had on the club and community.

What I can say is, I remember watching video on Javi with the staff ten years ago, and just saying ‘this is a fantastic player; we need to get him into the organization to turn things around.’ Since day one, when he put on a uniform for us, he’s been the man.

He’s meant so much to this club, to the city, to the state, and really, to the league. Everything about him is first class. It’s extremely tough — it’s tough to swallow for everyone that he won’t be back in an RSL uniform. It’s very hard. But we also have to move on, obviously make a very, very good decision in replacing him.

RSL’s coach for 2017 also talked about the monumental task that is replacing Morales.

We have players on our team that we strongly believe in, and we also have players that we’re looking at abroad or within our league to do that.

Bill Riley asks whom Cassar feels is best option on the team

I think Luke Mulholland has shown that he’s very capable of coming in there and doing it in a different way. The way Javi plays is special; his creativity, his quality on the ball — but Luke can also play that position and just do it in a different way. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be any less successful. Luke has played some games there this year and done an extremely good job.

We also need to make sure we take the resources we have and go out and find another player that can fill the shoes that Javi had.