Marcelo Silva hasn’t been training with Real Salt Lake for long, but he’s probably going to be making an immediate impact on the team — if he starts immediately, which at this point seems inevitable.
Of course, it’s not really inevitable, and Mike Petke might choose to go another direction in the very short-term while Silva adjusts to his life in MLS, but a leaky RSL backline could mean starting Silva — especially after two weeks of training with the team — could be a low-risk decision.
If he starts, the next big question will be his partner — and although I think there’s a clear answer, it’s at least worth mentioning what each center back brings to the table. After all, we’re just an injury away from seeing a non Glad-Silva partnership, so we should really have an idea where everyone sits. It might also help us know who might be on their way out.
The obvious pick here, Glad is also likely one of RSL’s most valuable players. He’s already shown he can find success at a youth international stage, and he’s also been an important, effective player at first-team player. Given he’s young — a 20-year-old center back earning first-team minutes is rare — that’s going to be attracting the attention of plenty of European teams.
He’s probably the natural choice, but what if he’s injured? Who’s next?
I think we’ve seen over the last few weeks that Aaron Maund has started to re-establish himself as an important player, even though he was part of the intensely miserable matches in Texas. His partnership with Glad is good — could he do the same thing with Marcelo Silva?
This is a hard one, given we have no real idea what Marcelo Silva’s playing style is like. Highlights are difficult to come by, and anybody that tells you they regularly watch La Liga 2 is probably just pulling your leg.
Schuler is an interesting figure here, simply because injuries have been a problem in his career, and he might struggle to find a regular starting position for the rest of his career. But at times, he’s demonstrated that, with the right partner, he can be a dominant figure, and that even when he’s only starting occasionally, he can produce.
I really am not sure what to say about Horst here, to be honest. I do think he provides value as a backup on this team, and maybe he can push for a starting position — but is he likely to win out over a TAM-level international and Justen Glad? It hardly seems likely. Maybe his best bet is to establish himself as a reliable bench player that can enter games late and shore up the defense.
I know there’s a lot of talk about how we need to send Justin Schmidt down to Real Monarchs, but I actually think there’s not much use in that. If RSL places Jordan Allen or another player on the injury list, there’s a free reserve spot available. But a reserve spot isn’t really what we need — at best, a supplemental could do, and we might be able to finagle the roster enough to move a Sebastian Saucedo or some such to the position.
Of course, that says nothing about his playing ability, and it’s pretty simple: Only under circumstances of extreme injuries did we expect to see Schmidt play regular minutes. That’s what happened, and inevitably, he showed he still has a lot to learn. He also showed that he has some excellent qualities that will make for an excellent MLS-level player someday, but he needs time to develop that.