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Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes: Three Questions with Center Line Soccer

We needed intel before today’s match against San Jose Earthquakes. Center Line Soccer came through for us.

MLS: San Jose Earthquakes at Real Salt Lake Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

1. It seems like the word at San Jose has been "Signings are coming!" for a while now. How are you guys holding up? Are you happy with what you've got so far? Do you feel like you're better this year than last?

The signings are indeed coming. I don’t think new GM Jesse Fioranelli’s done yet, with Center Line’s Robert Jonas announcing his media availability later Thursday. Watch this space!

Recent arrivals through the draft include two players who came through the U23 PDL Burlingame Dragons: Nick Lima (D - a homegrown player) and Christian Thierjung (F); both are products of the Cal Berkeley. Fioranelli has already been busy signing players from Europe (Florian Jungwith: D/M from SV Darmstadt; Danny Hoesen: F loan from FC Groeningen) and the Americas (Marco Ureña: F Costa Rica via Brondby IF; Harold Cummings: Panama via LD Alajuelense).

It’s early to say how any of these new players will pan out – the collection thus far covers the entire pitch, and indicates to me that the club is aiming to improve the overall depth in the squad. It’s disappointing to see Alberto Quintero decide to move to Peru – he was a very creative player. Two players I’m intrigued by are the youngster Kip Colvey (D – New Zealand national player) and the experienced Andres Imperiale (D – Argentina via Saprisse). Neither player saw much playing time last season, and both are held over into the 2017 squad, so I wonder what Dom’s plans are for them.

2. We have to ask: What are your feelings on Steven Lenhart signing in Japan? It's maybe my favorite thing ever, and I was obviously not a huge fan of him as a player.

Honestly, I was surprised to hear this – news of Lenny’s career status was so sparse in 2016, and everyone assumed that his career was over. I hear through the grapevine that he has spent a lot of time in Japan, and there is a video of him making some (hitherto untranslated) remarks in Japanese when he was introduced to the fans.

His on field persona is in stark contrast to his off field personality – he surfs and plays piano in his free time. I surmise he’s as much interested in a change in lifestyle as much as he is in continuing to play soccer. We’ll be keeping an eye on his progress.

3. What's the biggest risk you're facing as a team in 2017?

The biggest risk will be to Dom Kinnear’s tenure as manager if the Earthquakes don’t make the MLS Cup playoffs again. This is his third year in charge, and his biggest challenge (and the club’s biggest challenge) will be quickly learning to work with the new GM, and the considerable number new players they’ve acquired, to ensure a playoff berth. Finding a winning formula with so many new arrivals might require some alchemy with the elements available.