It’s better than Christmas and Birthdays combined. Silly Season is here folks starting on July 10th. With plenty of injuries and the fact that several high-promising signings are unable to make the bench, it wouldn’t be surprising to see an especially busy silly season with multiple players coming and going. This article looks to explore the current injury dilemma the club has, the needs of the club, who is likely to come in and who is likely to go out. Lets break it down.
The Status Quo
Real Salt Lake currently has nine injuries. NINE! The current injury list looks like this.
Beltran (knee 10/15/17), Allen (knee 6/16/17), Barry (knee 3/10), Phillips (ankle 4/7) Horwath (achilles 4/18), Mulholland (back 5/2), Lopez-Espin (knee 6/13), Horst (achilles 6/26), Sparrow (knee 7/2)
Many of these players have been out for long periods of time and will hopefully be back sooner rather than later; this is particularly true of Tony Beltran who is projected to be back mid-August and Jordan Allen who has been out for over a year at this point. The timeline for other players is pretty uncertain, with Alex Horwath and David Horst guaranteed to be out for the remainder of the season.
The 24-year-old right winger/midfielder from Paraguay was heavily connected to the club 3-4 weeks ago but it appears that agreements may have stalled or stopped altogether according to multiple sources. This could be due to several reasons including the improved form of wingers Jefferson Savarino and Sebastian Saucedo.
Real Salt Lake has all 30 spots on the roster filled, meaning that someone must leave for someone new to come in. The club also has a remaining Designated Player spot opened. Additionally, all international spots are currently occupied meaning that Kreilach, Hernandez, Ortuno, Ruiz, Rusnak, Savarino, or Marcelo Silva must depart if the club decides to make moves internationally.
As noted in an article a few week back by managing editor Matt Montgomery, Luis Silva looks to be a target for Mexican Club Chivas. Silva has experience playing in Mexico for Tigres in 2016 in between stints with Real Salt Lake. That said, I would be surprised to see a move like this go through for a couple of reasons. Firstly, while Luis Silva has been an excellent contributor for RSL, he’s not exactly the type of player who seems to fit the label of a high profile signing for a mexican giant. Secondly, with Ortuno clearly out of the picture the departure of Luis Silva would leave the club with only one striking option in Corey Baird, a rookie. That said, Silva has been great this year netting five times in only 630 minutes. All in all its an unlikely move regardless as to whether or not the club brings in a new number nine in the transfer window. - Which they should, i’ll get to that in a bit.
I’m not going out on a limb when I saw that Alfredo Ortuno is a bust. Perhaps the biggest bust in RSL history considering Yura Movsisiyan and Burrito Martinez actually played. To put it bluntly, it would be a bad transfer window if the FO can’t get him out of here by the end of it. Luckily for us there is definitely interest. He is currently being sought after by multiple Segunda Division clubs including Albacete Balompié and his former club Cadiz. (Not limited to just the two links here) Given the details of the contract Ortuno signed with the club, it can probably be assumed that his transfer will bring in some revenue to the club, hopefully it is enough to counter the approximately $23,000 weekly wage he is currently on despite playing only 119 minutes with the club and contributing no goals or assists.
It was evident that the young Slovakian was unhappy with something on the management level after a statement made at training. It appears that the problem has been cooled with no further mention being made of it and the 24 year old seemingly in higher spirits.
That noted, it is only a matter of time before one of the most promising young players in the MLS departs for greener pastures. The big question is when? It’s well known that Rusnak and Patrick Vieira have known one another since their days together at the Manchester City academy. It is also common knowledge that there was interest from New York City FC while Vieira was the man in charge there. Considering his move to OGC Nice, it seems like the perfect catapult to Europe for Rusnak if you ask me, although I certainly hope he stays here for at least another year.
It is always a bummer to see players that you have become attached to depart a club, but as they say the warehouse has to be cleaned before a new shipment arrives. Granted there are a million different nuances with the MLS rules, I would not be incredibly surprised to see players like Jordan Allen, Adam Henley, Ricky Lopez-Espin, or Jose Hernandez shopped, waived, or given permanent deals with the monarchs.
Places of Improvement
A number nine has to come in this transfer window. No question it is the highest priority of this window and I am confident Andy Williams can get the job done. Corey Baird has been fantastic and so has Luis Silva in his limited minutes, but after failed experiments with Martinez, Movsisiyan and Ortuno this club needs a true, proven and consistent man at the top more than anything. Not only is such an acquisition crucial in terms of results, but it will push Corey Baird to be better and better.
Looking at the above injury list, four of the nine injuries are to defenders, all of whom have been out for a significant amount of time and at least half of those have required surgery. Considering the sheer number of injuries on the backline, the inability for Adam Henley to crack the XI, and the injury proneness of Marcelo Silva, I think it is important to bring in a cheap rotational option in a worst case scenario. Whether that looks like Kalen Ryden, who has had an absolutely outstanding season so far with the Monarchs, or a player elsewhere, I do not know.
A few weeks ago I would have said that a midfield signing absolutely must be a priority in the transfer window. Given Sunny’s mind-blowing run of form the last few games, I think it has become a much less pressing issue. Kyle may be aging and coming in off the bench, but the pairing of Damir Kreilach and Sunny in the middle has been a solid one. Adding on to that, Nick Besler has proven that he deserves to be playing at the MLS level after promotion from the Monarchs after several standout performances this season. Pablo Ruiz is also an exciting young prospect who could be brought in off the bench. Finding a long-term KB5 replacement is still a long-term problem that needs a solution, but it is not an emergency as things stand now. In the next offseason? Most likely, although Nick Besler could very well be that guy.
What do you feel needs to be done to make this a successful transfer window? Let us know in the comments.