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Razor-thin: Evaluating RSL’s 2020 roster

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RSL’s depth is not good. Let’s see why.

Colorado Rapids v Real Salt Lake Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images

Real Salt Lake’s roster is, um, well, disastrous.

Why?

Well, let’s take a look. Again. I know we did this recently, but we’ve had more matches since then, and we’ve learned something about who’s going to play, and who apparently isn’t.

The big takeaway I’ve got here is that have several positions that have no real backup, and several more positions with essentially no depth.

Also, we have six players who can play at defensive midfield. Maybe we should play more of them, or something.

When I say our roster depth is razor-thin, this is what I mean. Behind our first-choice players are players that are rarely pushing for more minutes.

We come back to “why?” — and I don’t know the answer. But it starts at the top, and that’s Dell Loy Hansen. For now. (Hopefully not much longer.)

Goalkeeper

First-choice: Andrew Putna — He appears to have won the spot currently.

Backups:

  • Zac MacMath — I think he’s third-choice, but what do I know?
  • David Ochoa — RSL coach Freddy Juarez has said he doesn’t want to throw him in the deep end without a chance to train with his back line, which I guess I understand. It really underscores how hard 2020 must be for players.

Center back

First-choice:

  • Justen Glad — He’s probably going to play in every match from here forward, because when he doesn’t (and sometimes when he does), bad things happen.
  • Nedum Onuoha — although he’s injured, so... I dunno

The bench:

  • Erik Holt — He’s not up to first-team quality right now.
  • Marcelo Silva — error-prone, needs a player who can clean up his mistakes (read: Nedum Onuoha)

Right back

First-choice: Aaron Herrera — He’s both extremely good and extremely the only one suited for the position

The bench: uh

The absent: Alvin Jones, who takes up an international slot and won’t fit on the roster — which could change if Sam Johnson is released, maybe.

Left back

First-choice: Donny Toia — he needs some pressure behind him, I think, but he’s doing about as well as you can expect for never getting rest

The bench: Tate Schmitt — I think he’s a potential option in a five-man backline, but never in a four-man backline. Please.

The absent: Ashtone Morgan. See Alvin Jones, above.

Defensive midfield

First-choice:

  • Pablo Ruiz — He’s extremely good and I want him to stay forever (also has some room to grow, which is even more exciting)
  • Everton Luiz — He’s apparently not medically cleared to play for some reason. OK.

The bench:

  • Kyle Beckerman — You know the guy.
  • Nick Besler — He’s also an option at center back still, and apparently he’s been training at CB and DM this year. Neat.
  • Damir Kreilach, who appears twice on this list in other positions
  • Justin Portillo — I’ve been impressed with Portillo in his few appearances.

Why is he on this roster: Luke Mulholland — he’s constantly injured. He has been for three years.

Attacking midfield

First-choice: Albert Rusnak — he’s on international duty for several more matches. OK.

The bench: Damir Kreilach, I guess?

The absent:

  • Luis Arriaga — I mean, now that the Monarchs season is over, he’s got a chance, but... he’s not going to play.
  • Giuseppe Rossi — he’s injured. Will he ever play again? Probably not.
  • Julian Vazquez — See Luis Arriaga.

Winger

First-choice rotation:

  • Corey Baird — He brings something unique and has upside. Hopefully he’s not the finished product.
  • Maikel Chang — He’s been a bright spot in a dull season, but when
  • Justin Meram — A reliable veteran. One of our only goalscorers. I actually think he’s having a pretty good season.

The bench:

  • Jeizon Ramirez — I guess, in spite of his never playing more than 15 minutes in a single match

Never gonna play:

  • Chris Garcia — he has played just one minute in 2020. I guess he’s been injured or something? I don’t know.
  • Milan Iloski — I have no idea why he’s not seeing any minutes at all. I have no idea. He’s on the bench. Just give him minutes.

Forward

First-choice: Damir Kreilach, a midfielder

The bench:

  • Corey Baird — when he’s not playing at winger, at least
  • Douglas Martinez — he is now apparently our only true forward, though he might be a better winger than forward at this point. He is fast. That’s nice.

Goodbye: Sam Johnson — Suspended.