Well! If you haven’t been paying attention to Real Salt Lake over the last two weeks, I have questions. You can read this very site from the International Space Station*, so I don’t think there are too many excuses. Please see me afterward if you have any.
But seriously, let’s get into this. Stock reports when we were losing were a little dim, and last time we talked, we were just starting to see glimpses of what Brooks Lennon and Sebastian Saucedo could do. Now?
Let’s just get into it, shall we?
Up: Brooks Lennon
OK. Let’s just stop for one second and marvel at this. Brooks Lennon has taken like a duck to water (that’s the phrase, right?) at Real Salt Lake. I know, I know — he was at Liverpool before us, and even if he wasn’t training with their first team, he was still with a good U-23 side. But do you know how many players don’t cut it a first-team level — anywhere — despite impressing with a youth side? The list is long. Brooks Lennon is clearly not a member of that list, no matter how big you think the drop-off between his two sides might be.
His goal feels like it might have been a long time coming, but let’s remember this: It took him five games to score his first goal. But more importantly, he’s been making actively making an impact on matches. What’s next for Lennon? We’ll only get to see a bit of him before he’s off to the U-20 World Cup — the first match is on May 22. Will we keep him around long-term? Here’s hoping, but if not, it’s not like we’re just developing him for nothing. He’s making a difference.
Down: Joao Plata
The striker seems like he might be on the rocks a bit, but that’s not why he gets a down here. It’s because other players are actively stepping up in his position. Brooks Lennon has been impressive when switching on the left side, where Plata is best. Sebastian Saucedo hasn’t exactly been a slouch. At this point, it seems like Plata might have to win his spot back. He can regain his form and spot in the starting lineup, but he’ll have to fight his way back.
Up: Sebastian Velasquez
I know, I know. The title says $RSL. He doesn’t play for Real Salt Lake. He plays for Real Monarchs. I know, they’re not the same thing. Still! He’s been pretty good — he’s scored regularly for his team, and that deserves some recognition. That’s meaningful. He’s also been good keeping possession — as you’d expect — and taking shots from reasonable positions. If you were to describe some of his issues when he was with Real Salt Lake, his shot quality would have been right up there. Now? I’m not nearly as concerned. He’s grown and growing.
Down: Luis Silva
In six games, Silva hasn’t exactly been a revelation. He has one assist, but he’s only played intermittently — and in two starts, he hasn’t done too much. Now, I’d be willing to accept that he does have a great chance now to turn that around under Mike Petke, but for now, he’s not gaining much value.
*I assume that’s the case. They have Twitter access, so why wouldn’t they be able to read RSL Soapbox? Somebody send me to space to figure it out.