I said Jordan Allen, Jose Hernandez and Joao Plata were on their way up. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that one out, certainly — of the three Js, only Jose Hernandez was really an unknown in our last report, and I’ve been a big fan of his for some time now. I’d argue that each of the three continued that rise through the last week, which featured two preseason matches.
On their way up
Jordan Allen has proven himself to be Real Salt Lake’s standout player of the 2017 preseason so far. He’s been involved in goals, he’s been driven, he’s been motivated — in short, he’s grasping the opportunity afforded him with both hands. He’s a genuine starter now.
Omar Holness is up, too — and that’s not for any goal action. It’s because he’s come on and looked like he’s ready to earn minutes for this team, and when we’ve struggled to create a good partnership in the midfield (like when we played Luis Silva and Luke Mulholland side-by-side), Holness has looked like he might have been an answer there.
Luis Silva is steady, but he’s close to being an up this time around. If he’d formed a better partnership with Luke Mulholland, he’d be there. Now, is it really fair that he doesn’t move up for that? Maybe not — but how perform in a group is as important as how you perform as an individual. I’d feel comfortable with Silva anywhere in the midfield now, but wherever that is, he needs the right players around him. He can’t shoulder a defensive load on his own.
Albert Rusnak is steady, which seems about right for a player still finding his feet in MLS. I’d reckon he’s been surprised once or twice, and he’ll probably take a few weeks of competitive action to find his feet. There’s still time for my long-shot prediction last week to come to fruition, but it’s starting to look unlikely. Of course, this might all be moot — we haven’t seen him with Kyle Beckerman yet. That could prove an interesting and helpful change.
Aaron Maund and the RSL center back situation is down — we’ve yet to see anyone really convince except maaaaybe Chris Schuler, and even then, it’s a stretch. That our apparent-best center back is away on international duty means maybe being worried isn’t too surprising, but man alive, I’m ready to see a real pairing.
Chris Wingert is down, but he’s not significantly down. He hasn’t really taken preseason by the metaphorical horns this year — at least that we can see — and it’s meant that he’s just a step off sometimes. He’s had some reasonably good moments, but overall, it’s a down for me.
- SAFE BET: Tony Beltran will come back from his slight foot injury (he’s projected to be back at 100 percent by the time the team makes it to LA Galaxy) and impress us. He hasn’t had a perfect preseason (who has?) and is due a boost.
- SAFE BET: Reagan Dunk will earn himself a contract shortly, unless RSL is signing UNM and RSL-AZ product Aaron Herrera.
- SAFE BET: Chad Barrett will finish preseason with more goals than Yura Movsisyan.
Last week’s predictions
SAFE BET: We’ll see David Horst’s stock rise, but don’t expect it to shoot up.
Because this was a relatively safe bet to begin with, I feel like it was the case — even if we’re opposed to it, we can see how David Horst’s stock rose. He was a steady influence when he played.
MAYBE?: Justin Schmidt won’t keep dropping. He’ll probably start rising soon.
There’s still time for this one, I guess, but I’d argue it didn’t increase at all. He came out unwisely in RSL’s last concession against Minnesota United; had he stayed put, we might have been safe.
LONG SHOT: Albert Rusnak’s stock will rise throughout preseason, possibly culminating in him being our top player of the preseason.
I clearly hedged my bets here. “Throughout preseason” means the Los Angeles leg of preseason will have to be the last chance for this prediction. It hasn’t quite happened yet.