The season is right around corner, and it’s time we took stock of some of the players who really impressed us during the five weeks of preparation.
Up: Jordan Allen
No surprise here, right? Jordan Allen’s been excellent in preseason, and it gives us every reason to think he’ll get that starting spot on the right wing — for now. Of course, there’s always a possibility that Craig Waibel and company are looking to bring in a true starting player, but we’ll have to see what happens there.
Still, Allen’s been involved in good play consistently, he’s defended appropriately, and he’s starting to show us that he can be a special player for this team. The rest? That’s all up to him. But from this preseason showing, we have plenty to be confident about.
Up: Chad Barrett
You did... what!?, you’re probably thinking right now. Yes, I put Chad Barrett as one of the players who’s gained a lot during preseason. No, I won’t take it back.
That’s not because I expect Barrett to somehow step into a starting role immediately or anything even remotely like that. It’s more that, when he came, Barrett was just a reliable veteran presence who’d jumped from team to team.
Instead of just accepting that he was a journeyman, he’s immediately fit into the locker room, and he’s been scoring preseason goals. Yes, it’s just preseason — but if you can’t talk about those goals, there’s really no point in watching preseason anyway.
Sure, Mr. Barrett doesn’t exactly bring something to the table that we couldn’t have already guessed. But by his preseason, I’d say he’s increased his stock significantly.
Up: Kyle Beckerman
We’ve learned this offseason that without Kyle Beckerman, we struggle. Surprise! It’s good to be reminded of these things, though, right? He’s still our fulcrum in the midfield; without him, we’re still a bit lost. Sure, Sunny could grow into the leadership role Beckerman offers, but that’s a big ask.
Beckerman’s stock doesn’t get a boost because he looked good in preseason or anything. Rather, it’s because we have even more evidence that he’s essential.
Up: Brooks Lennon
Some players, when being sent on loan by their parent club, dip in form a little bit. Others start to really impress. Rarely do they immediately end up on international duty for an extended period, though, and that’s what we’ve got here. He’s scored four goals, and that’s enough to make us very happy.
Staying level: Luis Silva
Personally, I expected good things from Luis Silva, and that’s what we got, for the most part. We did see him deeper in the midfield, and that was interesting — will he provide genuine depth in the center of the park? We could use that.
Staying level: Justen Glad
Glad’s stock was already high when preseason started — carryover from last year, I suppose. Given we haven’t really been doing great things defensively, Glad retains any value he has. Nobody passes him. We’ll see how he performs when he’s back with the team, but until now, we’re keeping our fingers crossed that he’s back soon.
Falling: Center backs, except for Justen Glad
We’ve been sieve at the back this preseason — and sure, that doesn’t mean it’s all on the center backs. That’s about everyone, including forwards. But center backs are the last line of defense (or second-to-last, if you’re including the goalkeeper), and frankly, we haven’t seen too much to be hugely impressed by. Let’s hope the season holds something different.
Falling hard: Landon Donovan
Remember when we thought we’d landed Landon Donovan? (Yeah, I know. We played a role in that. Sorry.) Well, now his stock at Real Salt Lake is falling, and it’s all because he never joined the club. Take that, Landon.
- Albert Rusnak shows up somewhere on this list next time we do it — and let’s predict the “Up” side, because he’s shown us some quality. Let’s see it realized.
- Justen Glad will step back into things and show he’s a full-time starter. Then he’ll go for more international matches. Crying emoji.
- Yura Movsisyan will step further into a strong leadership role, and maybe he won’t hit the post a bunch. Hopefully.