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The Salt: Merry Christmas, Real Salt Lake

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It’s the most magical time of the year. Doubly so if we sign Cano.

Vietnamese Christians Mark Christmas Photo by Linh Pham/Getty Images

Why, hello!

It’s been a little bit since we talked, and honestly, I’m a little scarred from the last holiday edition of The Salt. You know, with Mike Petke’s tweets and all that. They were fine, but it all gets a bit exhausting with the back-and-forth banter. (Anyway, Mike, feel free to tweet — all in good fun, right? Also, I’m still waiting for that Christmas party invitation. Thanks!)

At any rate, I’m here mostly to wish you all a happy holiday of your choosing. If that’s Christmas, the timing is good. If it’s Hanukkah, I apologize for being very late. If it’s the Winter Solstice, I’m just a little late. If you don’t observe a holiday of some sort, that’s fine, too. I’d still like you to be happy.

Let’s talk Real Salt Lake for a few minutes, since we’re here.

I’m actually really looking forward to seeing how our roster shakes out in 2019. We were young in 2018, and we’re replacing some of our older players, it seems, with younger ones. Donny Toia, for example, has joined, likely in place of Demar Phillips. That’s a nine-year age difference. Our homegrown players are maturing (that’s the hope, at least) and developing into solid MLS players.

We’ve signed a couple new youngsters (expect them to play for Real Monarchs in 2019.) We’ve brought back Tony Beltran. We’re hopefully on the verge of a post-Christmas signing — Germán Cano would be an excellent addition to this team, and if that could just be done, that’d be awesome.

I think we can expect a bit more movement, too. It’s a good time to be a Real Salt Lake supporter, and there’s a growing optimism about 2019.

Now, we still have things to figure out. Our midfield still needs some filling out — especially with the departures of Sunny and Luke Mulholland, we’re short in a crucial area that needed strengthening in 2018.

We also need to know if Craig Waibel will be around come Jan. 1. If we take on a new general manager, there’s a risk that things will be completely upended — now, maybe that’s the right call, but it’s still a risk.

But 2019 is getting close, and it’s not looking so bad.

Off-topic

I wrote about board games for Deseret News — this is a bit of a gift guide, and I’m working on a ‘best of 2018’ list for you all to gaze upon.

At the time of writing, I’ve played three consecutive games of Railroad Ink, which has actually been as fantastic as everyone has said it is. It’s a pretty simple roll-and-write game where you’re building out highways and railroads, but it’s nice and thinky. Give it a whirl!