Player name: Reagan Dunk
Position: Right back
Last club: University of Denver
One thing you need to know
If you haven't seen it yet (and I link it almost constantly), there is a 10 minute video on the RSL YouTube channel that will tell you a lot about Dunk. Cassar and his staff talk about a style of play that they all know Real Salt Lake will have and Dunk it the player they immediately identify for that style. Whether you believe there is a style or not, the Salt Lake staff believe they do and Dunk apparently fits that mould.
What he brings to the team
While at the Pioneers, Dunk brought them to an NCAA Final Four appearance in 2016, starting in 23 of Denver's 24 matches while personally becoming a two-time MAC Hermann semifinalist. He finished his time at Denver with 74 starts and was part of the team that took Denver from 106th for goals against to a top-five defence.
He's an overlapping full back who has an attacking mind in him. There's two highlights from his first appearance I felt needed to be showed and they come within a minute of each other. Both times the ball is switched from left to right and it's Dunk who takes the ball. He powers forward and while both times he can't make the final ball, it's encouraging to him a player try and make something happen.
All this within his first three minutes on the field in a RSL team. When you're playing counter attacking football like Real Salt Like is trying to do now, having an full back that can attack as well as defend is vital because if you're able to, you have to get forward. The idea for a counter is that you win the ball high up the field and break with numbers and Dunk has shown here and in the entire preseason he can contribute both offensively and defensively.
Why you should be excited
Well, don't be too excited yet. Tony Beltran has that right back position on lock, and I don't see that changing anytime soon. He's a loud voice at the back at a time where we need a leader so Dunk would need to do something special to force Beltran to the bench. If the left back position took a hit and Beltran needed to switch over then perhaps Dunk gets minutes but other than that he will probably be limited to appearances off the bench.
Dunk has all the tools to develop into a good right back, perhaps even great for an MLS team. He's not at that Bofo-level potential from what I have seen (although I could be wrong!) but at a position that's hard to fill with a quality player in this day and age, having somebody like Dunk on your depth chart is a good thing.
Predictions for 2017
- He will spend time at the Monarchs, where MikePetke will work his magic with him.
- He'll earn some minutes at the end of the season should Real Salt Lake fail to qualify for the playoffs.
- He'll have one great game that gets everybody excited about his potential.