It is not every day that you get a chance to sign a box-to-box midfielder with a roughly 21 percent scoring rate, but here we are: Damir Kreilach is officially Real Salt Lake’s newest signing.
Don’t believe that he scored all those goals? Here are highlights from Kreilach’s 2015-16 season. Let’s break them down after you watch. Enjoy the music, because I know you always do.
- Kreilach is making very smart runs here, often from deeper positions
- He’s also scoring well with his head, which is something we haven’t had in the midfield for the last few years
- Those attributes don’t appear to be new. In the next video — a 2012 highlight reel — you can see very similar goals.
Where does he fit in at Real Salt Lake?
That’s a question with a surprisingly easy answer for me.
First, he is clearly being brought in as a starter. You don’t sign somebody with targeted allocation money who you don’t intend on starting, and I think it’s also clear from these videos that he’s not a Kyle Beckerman replacement, either.
I think you have here a player that is intended to take over the role that Luke Mulholland has served over the past few years: Somebody to play alongside Beckerman that will add something to the equation, unlike, say, a Sunny, who is more likely to sit alongside a defensive midfielder. That’s not a knock against Sunny, mind, but an acknowledgment that he served a similar role to Beckerman.
Wil Kreilach become an immediate starter for the club? That very much depends on how he adapts during preseason, because it’s absolutely a process. We may continue to see Mulholland start in the short term, but I wouldn’t count on him keeping that position.
What happens to the roster?
This does throw a little uncertainty into things, because we’re now in a position where we will need to shed a player by the roster compliance date. I think this puts three players on the brink:
- Yura Movsisyan, for obvious reasons — he wants to be gone, and I’m sure the club is working out a move
- Sunny, who will find it harder to earn minutes in this side
- Luke Mulholland, who is no longer the best starting option
Regardless, we’re at 21 players on the senior roster, so we will need to do something about it.
Are we done making big moves?
Yes, I think so. If we are, that really sets everything as complete pretty early. That’s appealing for a number of reasons, not least of which is that it gives us a strong chance to solidify a playing style in preseason, rather than in the middle of the season like we did last year.
This inevitably ends any pursuit of Jesus Dueñas, who RSL briefly pursued. We’ll see if more rumors pop up, but after this and a move out, I think we’re in a one-in, one-out scenario here. Maybe we won’t make any other moves until the summer.