One of the biggest highlights of last season was the emergence of Justen Glad as a dynamic center back for Real Salt Lake. He's been so good in this position that he's started every game for the US U-20s in World Cup qualifying.
This US team will feature Brooks Lennon, Danny Acosta, Bofo Saucedo, and Justen Glad at the U-20 World Cup in South Korea, May 20th through June 11th. This means we're without one of our star center backs for several games this season.
We had the mixed blessing of being able to see how Real looked without Glad in defense during Saturday's match against Toronto FC. The biggest surprise for me was how well the defense did with Maund (center back) and Phillips (left back) out with injury. The match ended 0-0. Horst showed himself a very capable CB and provided a big presence in the back. We were able to see the Chris Schuler we all have missed. Schuler won about every header he went for and had fast, smart movement.
Glad has secured his place to be in high consideration for center back, but the three-man race between Glad, Maund, and Schuler for these two spots now needs to have Horst in the conversation. It's great that we have depth in these two spots between four players that have all been starters in this role. Barring any major disasters, we should be alright without Glad. We still have Wingert, who has played as a center back, and Schmidt, who is a true center back.
Justen Glad has proven himself as a breakout star, and it wouldn't be surprising if he's sold to another club in future. As an organization with a strong academy, we have to develop and sell players. I would love it if Glad has a long career with RSL, but it's not unlikely that he goes to Europe and that could be great for him. If the United States make a good run in the U-20 World Cup, this will elevate his performance for RSL and his profile overall. We have the depth to cover the back line while he's gone, but his presence will certainly be missed.