Defining Demar Phillips’ 2018 contribution to Real Salt Lake isn’t hard.
Phillips started the first five matches of the season. In the fifth match — April 7 — he played 13 minutes before going down with an ankle injury.
In August, he declared his return for the club. He didn’t make an appearance.
Now, that’s not entirely down to him. Aaron Herrera developed into a solid left back by that point. Danilo Acosta remained an elusive bench figure. There simply wasn’t room for Demar Phillips in the lineup.
It perhaps isn’t too surprising that Phillips’ time at Real Salt Lake is coming to a close. The 35-year-old defender is certainly in the twilight of his career, and he’s been supplanted in the position. It’s a position he only truly locked down for one year, and while he’s been a useful player in his time year, he hasn’t ever truly won the position.
Should he leave — and I do think it’s the likeliest thing to happen here — I’ll miss what he brought when he was at his best. He was an interesting attacking left back, and had he arrived in the Petke era instead of the Cassar era (this is hypothetical, so he’d be the same age), he might have been an important piece of how we’ve been trying to play.
Phillips’ career at Real Salt Lake will be remembered largely for his bombs up the wing and the occasional terrible tackle made in recovery. The four years he spent at the club may not have been the best years for the club, but he always put in a good shift, and that’s one part of his play that every player could learn from.