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The Salt: Signings, kit leaks, and roster-building

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Does RSL need to sign players today, or can they wait?

MLS: Real Salt Lake at New England Revolution Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

So, it’s been an amount of time (to be honest, I could look it up, but I have most certainly not) since we last had a bit of The Salt.

Not normal salt. I’ve had that quite recently. I suspect most — nearly all? — of us have. For example, I put some salt on the nachos I made last night before realizing that the chips were already quite well salted. So that was a mistake.

Other than that, really, not that much has happened. I mean, in Real Salt Lake terms.

Except, well ... let’s just have at it.

So, we’re not signing Elliot Käck

You almost certainly saw this on this site, so I don’t think it should be huge news. But we’re quite obviously not signing Elliot Käck, who would have been an interesting option at left back and would have provided some good competition.

But he’s not coming; he’s staying in Sweden at Djurgårdens, and there’s certainly a real possibility that he always wanted to stay there. Players and agents around the world are quickly discovering that you can use MLS club interest to earn a bigger contract at your current club (or another club altogether). One needs look no further than German Cano, who’s now pulled that particular trick on two MLS teams, to see it happening.

We don’t know that’s what happened here

Everyone keeps saying the kit leaked

So if you’re on Twitter, you’ve probably seen the “kit leak” floating around. I have reason to believe it’s probably not entirely accurate, not least of which is because I saw the tweet that sparked it all — which, of course, hasn’t been cited in any of the rumors — clearly marked it as a “recreation” and also had no pretense about it being the final kit or anything similar.

That hasn’t stopped a hue and cry about the purported kit, the design of which looks like it could have been made in Photoshop 5 with an aggressive gaussian blur over some random swirls.

Of course, that idea isn’t inexplicable, and it would line up with what we’ve seen from both RSL and Adidas. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a design with some swirly-type look. But the “recreation” floating out there? Come on. We all have to know that when something like that — if it does look like that — hits shelves, it’ll look pretty different on, you know, fabric.

You want a real kit leak? Go back to when Lifevantage legitimately leaked the RSL kit early to show some of their MLM acolytes. That was a fun one — if an unhappy reminder of the fact that they’re our kit sponsor. (Did you know that Dell Loy Hansen at one point owned something like nearly 5 million shares of Lifevantage? After a reverse stock split, it came out to something like 700,000 or thereabouts. As of 2015, he was the principal shareholder. I don’t know if he still is — I can’t imagine he’s not — but yeah. Please correct me if I’m wrong here, of course.) Anyway, that’s a bit of a tangent, which is truly a first for me.

Does RSL need imminent signings?

So I actually think our roster is weak in the middle and reasonably strong on the topside, so long as we don’t move players out. Top-end signings, of course, could potentially push some of those players into the middle, but that doesn’t really align with our investment style. In that way, I think we’re probably OK.

We have two designated players, Albert Rusnak and Jefferson Savarino, and one kinda-designated-player-that-could-reasonably-easily-be-bought-down-with-TAM, Sam Johnson. I think it’s clear I haven’t been the biggest Rusnak booster over the last year, but he’s justified in that roster position. We all know Savarino is — there’s no doubting that one. Johnson is debatable, certainly, but being easily moved to a different designation probably influences that discussion.

Where I think we’ll struggle is in our depth. We’ve had multiple bench players leave — Sebastian Saucedo and Brooks Lennon, chiefly. We don’t yet have clarity on Joao Plata, but his option was declined. But of the players that left, five didn’t see MLS minutes in 2019: Tony Beltran, Jordan Allen and Alex Horwath retired; Luke Mulholland (who played 19 minutes in MLS) had his option declined, as did Danilo Acosta, who was on loan all year.

In essence, we had four role players leave (or potentially leave) the club: Plata, Kelyn Rowe, Saucedo and Lennon. One key player left in Nick Rimando. We’ve brought in three players: Maikel Chang, Alvin Jones and Zac MacMath.

So while I wouldn’t argue that we don’t need more signings — that would be terrible — I don’t think we need to panic.

I’ll talk more about the roster soon, though, because we need to look at who’s with us and

Off-topic

So I’ve actually been thinking about dedicating a post occasionally to board games — tagged as obviously off-topic, of course. I don’t know — would you read that? Or would you rather have something tacked on at the end of some RSL discussion?

Anyway, I finally played The Quacks of Quedlinburg last week, and I’ve got to say — it’s one of the most fun gaming experiences I’ve had in a long time. It’s easy to learn, there’s a fair amount of strategy to be had, and there’s a whole lot of push-your-luck tension that really pushes it over the top.

You’re basically filling a bag with ingredients for a potion of some description, and every turn, you’ll draw tokens from your bag, one at a time. If you draw too many of the wrong ingredient, the potion will explode and you won’t be able to do quite as much as you would otherwise.

I need to play it some more, but wow. What a fun game.