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RSL might be done in the transfer market, and that’s OK

Mike Petke has hoisted RSL into a better position.

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Portland Timbers Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

If you’ve noticed that transfer rumors have all but trailed off, you’re probably started to worry a little bit.

Don’t worry, I’m in the same boat. I got excited about the prospects of Cristobal Jorquera, and that one fell off the map. Yura Movsisyan was rumored to go to at least two places (and was apparently the subject of other inquiries), and it looks like he’s not gone anywhere quite yet.

Could a move still happen? Certainly. There’s time until the transfer window closes on August 9. But does one need to happen?

I would have told you even a month ago that we needed to sign more than just a center back. Today, I might pull back a little bit from that assertion. It’s only because Real Salt Lake managed to look good again that I feel that way, though, and I’m probably being influenced by a pair of quite excellent results.

Still, I do think there are reasons we’ve looked good, and I think there are reasosn we don’t necessarily need another player right now. That doesn’t mean we won’t need one come the new year, and it also doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t be better off with another addition or two. In fact, the biggest argument I’d make for bringing a player would be providing additional continuity next year as the squad continues to see revisions.

But if we’re just talking about results, I’m going to stay firm on this (for now): We’re OK without a signing. Not necessarily great, but we’re at least OK. Here’s why.

We got our center back

The position we’ve needed an upgrade in finally got sorted out, and the arrival of Marcelo Silva felt like it was a long time coming. Having Silva in the system means we’re better prepared for the rest of the year, but more importantly, we’re better prepared for 2018.

This does leave us, of course, with a glut of center backs: Aaron Maund, Chris Schuler, David Horst and Justin Schmidt are all ostensibly backups in this setup. That’s fine and great if we’re aiming to go three at the back, but I somehow doubt that — especially if we’re going to keep with this front-four look we have now.

The attack’s running smoothly

Now that our attack has really started to figure itself out, we’re in a position of not really needing a signing in this department, unless Yura Movsisyan departs the team. It’s hard to make an addition at forward that’s meaningful that would sit in the supplemental or reserve roster, given the state of MLS and the way things have moved with attacks.

Really, Joao Plata, Albert Rusnak, Jefferson Savarino and Luis Silva have made for an excellent starting tandem. Behind them, we have Yura Movsisyan, Sebastian Saucedo, Brooks Lennon, Jose Hernandez, and, soon, Chad Barrett. On paper, that doesn’t look half-bad once everything starts working. If it continues like it has, I’ll continue to not worry.

Joao Plata’s an excellent member of this team again

I’ve had to eat a lot of crow on this one (and I’ve said as much before), but Joao Plata is once again a contributing member of this team. That mere fact leaves us with less need to find a replacement for him or to bolster our attacking group.

Let’s let Mike Petke talk about this one — it’s from an after-training interview posted by RSL.

I just think that he’s taken control of his career a lot more over the last couple of months. He realizes the opportunity he has. He’s a young kid that has so much potential. He has goals. He wants to make it to the national team on a steady basis. He wants to win an MLS Cup. All the conversations I’ve had with him, it’s about, ‘alright, what are you willing to do to get there?’ Now it’s all on him. With his attitude, his work rate, I couldn’t be more happy for him — but it needs to continue, which I’m assuming it will with him.


Of course, we’d benefit from bringing players in a few positions. My shortlist?

Central midfielder

We need to sort out the future of Real Salt Lake’s midfield. It won’t be Kyle Beckerman forever, and Luke Mulholland isn’t the answer moving forward. Sunny might serve well enough in a defensive midfield role week-in, week-out, but he’s similarly not the quality of player you build a side around.

Central forward

Luis Silva’s rise has been interesting, to say the least. He’s not a traditional center forward. He’s quickly showing he can make that spot his on our team, but to really jump forward, we’ll need a player that can dominate the position. It’s become increasingly clear that the answer isn’t Yura Movsisyan under Mike Petke, although I wouldn’t rule him out at this stage.

Young backups

You know who I’d sign right now, given the chance? Chandler Hoffman. The 26-year-old is tearing it up in USL, scoring his 15th goal last night for Real Monarchs. If we could bring him forward, he could be an excellent option on the bench.

It still seems likely we’ll sign RSL-AZ right back Aaron Herrera in the winter. He might be the answer behind Tony Beltran we simply haven’t had.

We could really also use a central midfielder who doesn’t need to play regularly — preferably he’d be at a point in his career where he wouldn’t have to play week-in, week-out to improve. Maybe the answer is Danilo Acosta, but then we’d need another answer at left back.