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Projecting RSL’s lineup, bench, reserves, and cap space

We don’t know everything, but we know some things. Given rumors, here’s the state of our squad.

Seattle Sounders v Real Salt Lake Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images

First, let’s make some assumptions that every player RSL has publicly talked about discussions with signs. That might not happen — it might even be a stretch — but it’s going to make for a more interesting discussion.

Starting lineup (11)

RSL’s starting lineup is pretty solid at this point. This is a lineup that can win in MLS, and I don’t think there’s too much controversy there. Obviously, we don’t yet know if Landon Donovan signs, but we’re talking about this like he will — it makes for an easier, more natural discussion.


  • Nick Rimando


  • Tony Beltran
  • Aaron Maund
  • Justen Glad
  • Demar Phillips


  • Kyle Beckerman
  • Sunny
  • Albert Rusnak


  • Landon Donovan — expect heavy rotation here
  • Yura Movsisyan
  • Joao Plata

Bench and rotational players (8)

We’re a little thin here. We don’t have a center forward, and we have just two players who can slot in as a defender. If Chris Wingert remains a full back, that’s just one player as a center back backup with none in the reserves, and that’s a scary prospect.

Maybe someone like Danilo Acosta graduates from the reserves; that’s certainly a possibility. And, of course, we need a signing who can back-up Yura Movsisyan — or, perhaps, push him a little bit. We wouldn’t complain about that.


  • Matt van Oekel


  • Chris Schuler
  • Chris Wingert


  • Omar Holness
  • Luke Mulholland

Hybrid: Midfield & forwards

  • Jordan Allen
  • Luis Silva
  • Sebastian Saucedo (edit: He somehow missed out on this initially. Whoops!)

Reserves (4)

We’re probably a little thin here, honestly, and we could use a couple players. If we can bring in one or two good homegrown players out of college, like Maryland’s Amar Sejdic or UNM’s Aaron Herrera, maybe we can fill this out neatly.

  • Lalo Fernandez
  • Danilo Acosta
  • Jose Hernandez
  • Ricardo Velazco

What does RSL have left to spend?

Earlier in the offseason, I estimated something around $1.2 million in salary cap budget space to spend before factoring in targeted allocation money and general allocation money, and that could make signing two designated players difficult. But because Albert Rusnak is going to be a Young Designated Player, that means he’s on a smaller cap hit — just over $200,000, I believe.

If we do sign Donovan, that leaves us with about $500,000 in budget space to spend — enough for two good mid-level MLS players. For comparison, Sunny is on just under $250,000, and he’s quickly established himself as a first-team player. And, of course, we can’t forget about allocation money, because that will definitely make a difference. A big infusion from the league makes signing players easier, and how we spend it will make a huge difference in how we approach structuring our roster.

Someone like Luis Silva would likely fit into that $200,000 range, and if rumors about his targeting being for a loan deal are accurate, that number isn’t outside the realm of possibility. We’ll see on this one.