It’s been a busy week for Real Salt Lake and Utah Royals — once again, wouldn’t you know — and if you’ve had trouble keeping track of everything going on, you’re not alone.
Alfredo Ortuño signs with Real Salt Lake
Our first top-tier signing of the offseason, and hopefully not the only one, Alfredo Ortuño signed with Real Salt Lake, with the club using targeted allocation money to bring the player on last week. What’s the mean? Well, for one, the club isn’t limited by the three designated player slots. TAM, the fund’s street name, can only be used to buy down the salary budget for players who are above the designated player minimum. As a point of comparison, Alvaro Saborio, in his heyday, would have been a TAM player, had the mechanism existed then. (It didn’t. Clearly.)
But the move was an interesting one for a lot of reasons. From Ortuño’s side, he was only able to end up here because of a weird situation between him, Las Palmas, and Real Valladolid. Basically, he would have been given a hefty fine by Real Valladolid because his agency bungled his move from Las Palmas. Yeah, it’s weird.
Unsurprisingly, RSL general manager Craig Waibel was very happy with the move. “I think it was kind of a right time, right place situation for us,” he said in an RSL-released video. “He has a little bit of a chip on his shoulder ... we like guys that have a little bit of a chip on their shoulder, but with that professionalism and maturity. I think our fans are going to be really impressed with the way he fits in and works.”
Ortuño’s move, we posit, will give RSL a very interesting look, especially in providing true competition up top. Will a proven goalscorer make the difference here? One would hope so. Given he’s only 26, there’s lots to come.
Utah Royals bring on three
As they’re building their roster under coach Laura Harvey, Utah Royals have brought on some very interesting players: Kelley O’Hara, 29, and Taylor Lytle, 28. O’Hara’s a name you should recognize, given she has over 100 appearances for the United States. Lytle’s more of an unknown quantity, but she comes in with five seasons at Sky Blue FC under her belt.
Here’s what one of our writers, Ryan Kelly, had to say about the move:
Having O’Hara and her UWSNT teammate Becky Sauerbrunn holding down the right side of the back line, while presumably having Yael Averbuch and Becca Moros on the left, will give the team a good base with which to unleash the midfield and forwards into the attacking, possession-oriented style that coach Laura Harvey and general manager Craig Waibel are envisioning.
We weren’t done, though: Also last week, the Royals signed Gunnhildur Jonsdottir, or Gunny, an Iceland international player. She’s also right around that peak age, 29, and she’ll fill an important role in the midfield.
If you’re wondering what role Laura Harvey is playing in all these moves, Gunny’s statement in the club’s press release should shed a little light on that factor:
“I am so excited and grateful for the opportunity to play for Utah Royals FC this year. I have heard such great things about Laura [Harvey], and I know I will learn a lot from her,” she said.
RSL signs Corey Baird, three-time College Cup winner
It’s not every day you get to sign a player who won a trophy in their league. It’s especially not every day that you sign a player that won that trophy three times in their four-year tenure.
“You don’t accidentally win championships,” Waibel said about Baird. Watch that whole interview.
That’s Corey Baird, who joins RSL as a homegrown player. He’s a forward, and as things stand, he’s third on the depth chart, behind Ortuño and Luis Silva. (And Yura Movsisyan? Who knows at this point.)
Rumors! Cristobal Jorquera, Adam Henley
We’ve been in a “will he, won’t he” and “will we, won’t we” situation with Cristobal Jorquera since July, and it’s continuing to this day. Rumors placed Jorquera as an impending RSL player, but given he had a hernia surgery just weeks ago, there are rightly questions about whether he’d join the club. It’s still possible, but it might present a red flag for the club.
A rumor we’re feeling better about? That’s a potential move for Adam Henley, a free agent who last played for Blackburn. He’s a right back, still young (23!) and might have that chip on his shoulder that Waibel talked about. Alright.
Sebastian Velasquez returns to Real Monarchs
After a very successful first year at Real Monarchs, Sebastian Velasquez signed a new contract at the club that’ll keep him around for another two years. We’re still trying to figure out how the team is trying to make the team work, but having a veteran player who wants to be with the team and could help young players progress is always a good thing.
In other news...
- Real Salt Lake’s 2018 schedule was released ...
- We wrote about what to look forward to in RSL’s 2018 schedule
- And while we’re at it, here are five RSL away trips to make in 2018
- Why RSL not playing on Decision Day won’t matter
- Matt Van Oekel signs with OKC Energy
- Taylor Booth to FC Bayern München?
- What’s up with Kyle and Nick? Everyone’s asking that, and we don’t have answers. But they do appear in a club video, so they’re clearly not shying away from their visages.
- MLS announces Generation adidas class
- Three things to look for tactically from Real Salt Lake