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Why RSL might be signing center back Nedum Onuoha

Does RSL need help at the back after all?

Manchester City v Birmingham City - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Does RSL need a forward more?

I would urge you to consider signings in isolation of other needs. While I don’t dispute that we need a forward, not signing one shouldn’t preclude us from signing a center back. If Onuoha is a TAM-level player — that’s where I think his resume would place him — then it doesn’t close our roster too significantly for the future.

After all, we can hold a number of TAM-level players; it’s where designated players are concerned that things get tricky. We probably need a DP forward, and I don’t want to argue with anyone about that need. Maybe we do need a forward more than a center back,

Does RSL need a center back?

This is a tricky question for me. As the roster originally stood at the start of the year, I would have said no. Our depth chart was roughly this:

  • Marcelo Silva
  • Justen Glad
  • David Horst
  • Taylor Peay
  • Shawn Barry
  • Nick Besler

However, right now, it roughly looks like this:

  • Justen Glad
  • Nick Besler

There are a few things we don’t have clarity on right now.

First, what’s the status of Marcelo Silva? He was apparently rested for a match against Montreal Impact, then he suffered an ankle injury in training the day before the next match against LAFC. He missed our last match, too. Is his ankle injury more serious than anticipated?

Second, what’s up with Taylor Peay? He left the last Real Monarchs match he played in with an injury less than 20 minutes in. Is he still recovering from that? Is there something bigger going on?

Shawn Barry has dropped off the center back radar, it would seem — he’s more or less established as a backup right back by now — and he’s definitely behind Nick Besler at this point.

Another question I’d wonder about: Will Justen Glad find himself in Europe next year? I actually think this is something that could happen, and setting ourselves up now to prepare for that would be much to our benefit.

We really do need a center back — if not now, then next year

Beyond Marcelo Silva and Glad, RSL is thin — and we’ve also now seen Mike Petke deploy a three-man back line. If he intends to go further down that road, which really remains to be seen, we will need reinforcements, and that applies to 2019 as much as it does 2018.

But more than this year, it could just be that we know this will be a position of need moving forward, and we’re taking advantage of a player that only recently found himself out of contract. Rumors had him as a target for numerous Championship and lower-rung Premier League clubs, but nothing seems to have surfaced there.

If there’s not a significant red flag — for instance, if we offered him similar money and more stability or something of that sort, and not that he didn’t pass his physicals — then perhaps we’ve snagged an out-of-contract player that would have found himself earning Premier League minutes. It’s certainly not something we have knowledge about now, so I don’t want to belabor the point.

It may not even be that we will need to replace Glad. Part of this may well be that we need to provide some challenge to Justen Glad for him to grow, because I think we’ve seen a bit of a plateau from him. That’s certainly reasonable given the rotating cast of players around him.

We’ll see if this move comes to fruition, but there are certainly signs that it’ll come to pass. Keep your eyes peeled, folks.

(I’m sorry, I don’t even know why that phrase exists.)