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RSL’s top assisters: A top-ten baker’s-dozen of creation

It’s a crowded field, and you’ll never guess who’s #1.

Real Salt Lake v Chivas USA

13, 12, 11, and 10. Jeff Cunningham, Clint Mathis, Luke Mulholland, Tony Beltran: 11

Real Salt Lake v Chicago Fire Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Jeff Cunningham is an MLS goalscoring legend. He took the 2006 RSL Team MVP award and was able to notch eleven assists.

Real Salt Lake v New York Red Bulls Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for New York Red Bull

In his couple of stints with RSL over sixty-six matches Clint Mathis raked in eleven assists. He was part of the 2009 MLS Cup winning squad and was Javi’s replacement after the 14th minute injury.

MLS: New England Revolution at Real Salt Lake Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Luke Mulholland is, of course, still with the team. Given his work rate and the hunger he’s shown for minutes, expect him to be higher on this list come the end of the season. He’ll likely be playing a depth role as a rotational guy, but injuries happen and that’ll give him the chance to stamp this stat.

Tony Beltran is our stalwart right back. He’s become a strong leader on the squad, so look for more assists from his side. Over the next few seasons I certainly see him picking up a few more. In fact, I think I’d like to see him get into the attack a bit more.

9. Álvaro Saborío: 13

MLS: Philadelphia Union at Real Salt Lake Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The recently-retired RSL all-time leading goalscorer holds this spot with a steady complement of 13 assists. Known for his goalscoring, it’s nice to know he could create chances for others as well. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him fall down this list by the end of 2017, though. If he fell off the list entirely, that would mean RSL is doing something seriously right this year.

8 & 7. Chris Wingert & Ned Grabavoy: 14

Chris Wingert is still doing his thing for us at a position of depth. He brings talented experience to the team, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple more out of him before he retires. He’ll get his chances as an outside back this year. He’s the best backup we’ve got.

Real Salt Lake v Chivas USA Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Ned Grabavoy was an engine of consistency for RSL. Always underrated, Grabavoy did his thing for us game in and game out. So many of us were heartbroken to see him go to NYCFC in the expansion draft. We were saddened more when Portland scooped him up. Now, along with Borchers, they’re keeping him. I miss Ned.

6. Robbie Findley: 15

He had a couple of stellar years with RSL and was the team’s top scorer in 2006 and 2009. Fifteen assists is nothing to scoff at. His trial this year with the Red Bulls ended without a contract. Hopefully he’ll find a club where his experience will really, uh, assist the team. Sorry.

Real Salt Lake v San Jose Earthquakes Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

5. Fabián Espíndola: 17

Now plying his trade in Mexico, Espíndola might best be remembered for his goalscoring and his periodic emotional goalscoring droughts. He gave RSL seventeen assists. That’s something to be proud of.

4 & 3. Andy Williams & Joao Plata: 29

Real Salt Lake v Los Angeles Galaxy Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

An RSL legend, Andy Williams (now RSL’s head scout) locked in a respectable twenty-nine assists. There is no question that he’s one of the most solid contributors to have played for RSL. The club’s done right by him and he’s done right by the club.

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Seattle Sounders FC Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t expect Joao Plata to share this spot for very long. He’s building his own legend with the club and I confidently predict he’ll hold the #2 spot on this list by the end of the season. Probably before summer. Hopefully on March 4th. High hopes.

2. Kyle Beckerman: 33

MLS: Real Salt Lake at LA Galaxy Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Our longtime captain knows how to distribute a ball. This, of course, leads to assists. Hopefully he makes Plata work really hard to bump him down the list, but I’d be surprised if he continued here through the entire season. As a defensive midfielder assists aren’t his primary goal, which makes his spot at #2 even sweeter.

1. Javier Morales: 81

I told you you’d never guess. What? Everyone guessed? Oh. Well, I suppose that’s to be expected with a whopping 81 assists and a commanding lead on this list. We’ll have to watch him perform his wizardry for FC Dallas, but there’s no doubt he’s an RSL legend. So much of our attack went through Javi and he amazed us game after game with his on-field prescience. It’s going to take some serious work to ever nab this spot from him. If that day finally happens, you can be sure we’ll have another RSL legend on our hands. Until then, hats off to the maestro. Hopefully he’ll lead FC Dallas in goals and assists with only one apiece. Or maybe he’s an RSL mole. I’ll bet that’s it! Seriously, though. Expect a standing ovation when he strolls into Rio Tinto Stadium on May 6th. Be part of that.

MLS: New England Revolution at Real Salt Lake Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports