Selected 13th overall in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft, Reagan Dunk completed his rookie year in Salt Lake with only three appearances with the first team, while making nine appearances with USL side Real Monarchs. Though his playing time was limited, he stepped into the defensive role when he was needed, when things were looking dark for RSL and they were missing nearly half their roster due to injuries and call-ups.
Unfortunately, the only minutes he saw for the first team this year came with some major letdowns, in the form of a 4-0 loss to New England, 1-0 loss to Seattle, and the 6-2 beating that FC Dallas happily handed out to the crippled Salt Lake side.
That’s not to say that the 2016 First Team All-American didn’t have some talking points throughout the season, as he spent much of the year with the Real Monarchs, where he saw 384 minutes in the form of nine appearances and three starts, and had a hand in the Monarchs’ incredible USL regular season championship run.
So why didn’t we see more of Dunk for the first team this season? First and foremost, it’s going to be very tough for anyone to break into the lineup when they’re sitting behind someone like Tony Beltran in the pecking order. Beltran, who played nearly 2000 minutes this year, will always be the number one choice on the right side, as we all know. Even when Beltran was out for a string of games with an injury, Petke opted to put Danilo Acosta on the right side, especially when Demar Phillips was healthy.
Reagan honestly didn’t get much of a chance to show his stuff this year, which is pretty par for the course for the majority of rookies in MLS. Will he finally get some more playing time next season? With RSL’s left backs Demar Phillips and Chris Wingert not getting any younger, one could expect that Acosta would slide into that left defensive role on a more permanent basis, leaving Dunk with a chance to be the direct backup in Beltran’s position as the roster currently stands.
Only time will tell, but I feel like Dunk has an opportunity to become a staple in RSL’s lineup down the road if he can prove that he deserves it when he gets the chances.