Up: Brooks Lennon
It’s difficult to overstate exactly how important Brooks Lennon has become to this team. Two weeks ago, he hadn’t made his Real Salt Lake debut. Today,we sit wondering if he should retain his position when Jordan Allen returns to full fitness.
It only took 180 minutes for Lennon to make his mark. In that time, he nearly scored a goal, he created opportunities, and he showed that he’s good enough for MLS. I didn’t quite expect that. I expected some sort of transition period.
Of course, it’s important to remember that Lennon is still young. Consistency for young players is often hard to come by. We should expect fluctuation. But for now, we’ve got an incredible young player in good form.
Down: Chad Barrett
It pains me to say this, but Chad Barrett’s stock is probably not worth much of anything right now. He’s only 31, so his impending surgery won’t end his career, but the MLS journeyman certainly won’t have much of a chance to make a lasting impression at Real Salt Lake.
He’s aiming for a return in or around the playoffs. We’ll see if that pans out. Until then, Real Salt Lake has questions to answer at striker.
Up: Sebastian Saucedo
Take what I said about Brooks Lennon and you can more or less copy it into this field. Now, they’re obviously very different players, but with the two of them on the wing, we’ve got a great combination going.
Of course, the major difference here is that Saucedo hasn’t exactly won a spot to this point. Joao Plata’s goalscoring exploits last season will keep him afloat for now. But Saucedo is certainly on the right path, and if he continues in this trajectory, we’ll have an excellent player on our hands.
Up: Daryl Shore
Only one game into his head coach tenure at Real Salt Lake (in an interim capacity — don’t worry, you haven’t missed a thing), and Shore has taken the team to New York and achieved a professional result with a 0-0 draw.
Shore hasn’t had time to really shape the team in his image, but getting a result with a plethora of injuries is at least something. It doesn’t mean he’s the perfect choice as our new coach, but if all he does is a smash-up job as an interim in keeping the team together and progressing as a group, then I won’t complain.
Down, but also... up: Jeff Cassar
We don’t really need to recap this, but Cassar’s stock as head coach has obviously dropped significantly. The complaints around his firing — and I really do get them — revolve around being fired three matches into the season. In the time since we last took stock of RSL, it’s hard to see how Cassar’s estimations could have dropped.
But here’s the thing: You learn a lot about a person from how they react to disappointment, to devastation, to failure. Jeff Cassar, since his firing, has been nothing short of a stand-up, respectable person. And for that, Jeff Cassar’s stock has risen. He has shown himself to have poise, grace and respect. He was prodded to throw his former employers under the bus. He didn’t.