In his inaugural MLS season, Albert Rusnak won the club’s Golden Boot award. Technically there was a four way tie between Rusnak, Joao Plata, Luis Silva, and of course fan — and Petke — favorite Yura Movsisyan, but Rusnak took home the honors and thus, Real Salt Lake’s leading scorer in 2017 was a midfielder.
While it’s impressive how balanced the RSL attack is, one of the more pressing needs this offseason is finding a center forward who can reliably bang home goals, while also involving the fearsome trio of Rusnak, Plata, and (hopefully) Jefferson Savarino in the attack.
Money could be an issue as Real presumably seeks to offload Yura’s contract, as well as pay Savarino and potentially Brooks Lennon. Living legends Nick Rimando and Kyle Beckerman are also seeking new deals, and we’re not sure what that price point will be. A decent amount of funds could also be earmarked for Cristobal Jorquera, a midfielder who could immediately step in and strengthen the spine of the team.
With that in mind, RSL might be best served by finding a striker from within the league—someone familiar with the travel demands and other unique facets of MLS. All of the potential players below are on the younger side, could potentially be available due to club situations, and should fit RSL’s new attacking style. I’ve ranked them in order of preference, based solely on my own highly subjective criteria.
1. Juan Agudelo
Downside: Agudelo is one of those players who is surprisingly young (24) for having been in the league for what feels like 35 years. Despite logging 1,000+ minutes in six separate MLS seasons, he has yet to tally double digit goals in any of them. He’s been on the fringe of the national team, but has failed to really seize any opportunities with the Nats.
Upside: He is in the national team picture for a reason.
Agudelo has incredible talent, and is good for a few special moments each season. He hasn’t been able to lead the line consistently in New England due to the presence of Kei Kamara, and the Revs could certainly use a locker room shakeup. Agudelo’s combination of pace, flair, and skill on the ball could be a great fit with RSL’s dynamic attacking unit. Oh yeah, and just one more thing:
2. Erick “Cubo” Torres
Downside: Like Agudelo, Torres’ career has been plagued by inconsistency. After a breakout season with the now defunct Chivas USA (R.I.P.) in which he scored 15 goals, Cubo proceeded to score zero goals in his next 22 MLS appearances.
Upside: There was that 15 goal season. There was also this current season—the one in which Torres scored 14 goals in 23 starts. A talented Mauro Manotas has started to potentially overtake the #1 spot up top for the Dynamo, meaning Torres could be available this winter. There aren’t many U25 forwards in MLS who have multiple seasons of double digit goal production. Torres could be a steal for Real.
3. Bradford Jamieson IV
Downside: Jamieson IV is a jungle-covered moon that hosts the rebels’ secret ba—oh wait, never mind, different galaxy. He’s actually one of the many hyped Galaxy youth products who have not been able to transition well to MLS play. Despite receiving 1503 minutes in his young career, Jamieson IV has only found the back of the net four times.
Upside: The Galaxy were an absolute mess this year, which was so so fun for me, and so not fun for probably everyone on that team. Jamieson IV hasn’t had any sort of stability since his arrival into the league, and may never get that in L.A., the team who invented overpaying for talent. At 21 years old, the young forward is still early in his development and could blossom into a star given the right situation. Call L.A., buy the kid a dog, and watch Jermaine Jones post salty Instagram videos as Jamieson IV wins the 2020 Landon Don Ovan Trophy.
Who would you want to see in Claret and Cobalt next year? Let us know in the comments below, or @ me on twitter.