Well fans, we’re here, days before the opening kick of RSL’s first broadcast 2020 preseason match, and we are elated to be seeing our boys in red and blue (because Claret and Cobalt didn’t sound cool to me today) take the pitch as a new squad.
And while we’re all anxious to see who’s going to play where, what formations are going to be seen out on the pitch, and how some of our newest squad members are going to mesh with the old guard (rather what’s left of it), I feel as though it’d be good to take a step back and figure out how we got here.
Let’s start off by breaking down the series of events that happened between the last time our boys stepped off the pitch (Rimando’s last time ever stepping off the pitch) and have a look at the signings, departures, hirings and rumors that bring us to where we’re at today. It is safe to say that a LOT has changed since the 2019 MLS Champs sent us home — some say to this day Everton’s studs are still up — back to Salt Lake without any silverware. I think it’s also safe to say, that we’re in for a treat with this little squad that Elliot and friends have been scrambling to put together since October.
October 24, 2019 - The coaching rumors begin
It hadn’t even been 24 hours since our loss to Seattle when the Jason Kreis rumor broke let me tell you, this one had me excited. Buzz surrounding whether or not we were going to be looking outside the organization for a new coach or tossing the reigns officially over to our interim had every fan wondering what this news of Jason Kreis would bring. Unfortunately it didn’t seem to line up on both sides and we couldn’t snag our beloved coach once again.
November 5, 2019 - Bofo starts throwing shade on insta
Early on in November we started to see reports of Bofo voicing his unhappiness with his status at the club. On November 5, 2019 our boys over at The RSL Show podcast had Bofo on as a guest, and he all but broke the news that he was unhappy. Kudos to that crew for asking the questions we as fans all wanted to ask. This episode was really juicy and totally worth a listen; you can find it do so here.
November 19, 2019 - Maikel Chang signing rumors start to pop up
Following a successful run with the USL Champions, The Real Monarchs, Maikel Chang, the Cuban winger, sparks interests from the front office and receives an offer from the club. If you want to dig into the details of why we love this athlete they’re found right here. Congrats Maikel!
November 19, 2019 - Tony Beltran
Rumors broke out early on that Tony wanted a career here in SLC. And truly, there isn’t a player more deserving/fitting for this role. I don’t think that there is a lot to say here. Tony is currently working under Elliot Fall as an Assistant GM and early reports seem to indicate that he’s loving the role and is doing a great job.
November 21, 2019 - Quite a few options declined
Where in the world is Joao Plata? Well he’s not going to be in a RSL Kit for the upcoming season. He never reported to camp, we declined his option and we just don’t know what will come of the mighty veteran. He seems to have been on a rollercoaster ride here at the club the last few years, and it might have been nice to have some sort of goodbye. I for one am glad to see the salary space freed up for someone who is determined to make a run on defense. Of the four options we declined at the end of 2019, Marcelo Silva and Luke Mulholland are the only ones who has received a new contract, while Dani Acosta was picked up in the Waiver Draft.
November 26, 2019 - Elliot Käck
Last season it was pretty clear that we didn’t truly have a good backup for Donny Toia. So this rumor was a nice treat so early in the offseason. The Swedish Left Back for Djurgårdens, however seems to have been potentially leveraging conversations with Salt Lake as a mechanism to up his paycheck a bit. One could say, after this one fell flat, that Käck went the way of German Cano who played us like a fiddle last year and reportedly did the same to Orlando this year. Now there isn’t much to confirm my suspicions, but the whole thing seemed fishy at best.
December 02, 2019 - Lennon to spend Christmas in an Atlanta shirt
Lennon holds a soft spot in my heart. I can remember when news broke a few years back that we were going to get him back in an RSL kit on loan from Liverpool. I’ll never forget that game against Colorado when he single-footedly willed the game back into our favor (think this was one of Petke’s first games as head coach) and earned himself a kiss from our new head coach during the post-match presser. Lennon’s saga at RSL following the next few months was a roller coaster and yeah, I feel for the kid. I’m excited to see him excel and see if he can’t score some goals against us this year (hopefully not too many). His transfer was a decent one for us as well, as we received a bag of coin in GAM/TAM for a homegrown. All things considered, this move made its way into my top five moves of the off-season thus far.
December 03, 2019 - Freddy and Elliot get the call
I think this one wasn’t a surprise to most of the fan base. After rumors of the Kreis deal fell flat we seemed to have no news of the club pursuing anyone else to take on the reigns. With the way that these two gentleman handled their interim roles this last season, I for one couldn’t be more excited give them both a fair shake. Freddy seems to have a tactical mind and a passion for the game and coaching that is unmatched by almost any other. He, like Elliot Fall, has a proven record of being able to literally rise through the ranks here in SLC. Between the two of them, I doubt there is anyone else in the club with a longer tenure. I truly hope to see many years Elliot producing a competitive product, and Freddy taking that product and getting the most out of it. Please, Freddy, just don’t wear any sweater-vests and take care of that cat, okay thanks.
December 03, 2019 - Marcelo Silva extends his stay
December was already shaping up to be a great month for the club. And this was only a small part of that news. It seems that the club has agreed to a lesser deal with the veteran Center Back which is a position in which you want quality depth. Thanks for sticking around Marcelo, I hope to get a chance to catch some trout with you some day.
December 04, 2019 - Bye bye Kelyn
This one was, meh. Loved the enthusiasm he brought to the club, but after seeing him go back to the Revs I didn’t feel to bad. Our midfield at this point was in an interesting situation and with reports that Kyle Beckerman may be retiring this offseason we got a little worried that the front office was going to have to start pulling in some depth. Looks like it will all work out for everyone. Best of luck to you Mr. Rowe.
December 09, 2019 - Depth at right back, with an actual right back?
Welcome to Utah, Alvin Jones! You did us dirty during the World Cup Qualifiers a few years back. Now if we can get some of that filthy fire power from that right foot of yours this season we’ll be happy. When this report broke out (seemingly under everyone’s radar) I’ll admit, I had do a bit of web browsing to glean some sort of understanding as to who we were bringing up from the USL’s OKC Energy side and after a bit of research I was fine with the reports of the Trinidad and Tobago International making his way into happy valley.
December 11, 2019 - Anderson Julio rumors begin
After news breaking of the Lennon departure, Plata galavanting around far away from the workout room (reportedly shopping around with other clubs down south), and Bofo getting ready to bounce, we were left wondering what kind depth we would continue to carry over into next season on our front line. And then, this tasty nugget dropped all over Twitter and let me be the first to tell you how delighted I was to get my hands on such a juicy rumor. Too bad this one ended up falling flat after only a couple of weeks. It would’ve been fun to see a scrappy Ecuadorian come in and win over our hearts the way Plata did nearly a decade ago.
December 13, 2019 - Aaron cashes in
Aaron Herrera signs a well deserved, long-term deal with the club. I think I speak for all of us when I say that Aaron is well deserving of this contract and easily one of our best homegrown players to date. I don’t think I have more to add here than what has already been said about Aaron all over twitter and RSL socials. He’s an incredibly gifted young player with a very high ceiling. Well done, RSL Fam!
December 16, 2019 - The next one that ‘got away’
It doesn’t take a deep YouTube search to find out how special this one could have been. Anderson Julio is no doubt loaded with top-quality talent. Too bad this rumor vanished almost as nearly as surfaced. Could’ve been a fun one for us to see tear up the pitch in Sandy.
December 17, 2019 - MacMath news breaks out of seemingly nowhere
Things surrounding the rumor mill were stirring early on in December, and while most of us were dreaming of long breaks for the holiday from work, the RSL front office was making deals happen. Questions surrounding Zac MacMath and whether he will snag the starting keeper spot out from under Ochoa and Putna’s studs? We’ll find out on the 29th. Welcome to the club, Zac MacMath! We’re very excited to see what you can bring to us between the sticks. You have some big shoes to fill.
What an interesting start to what has shaped up to be one of the most fascinating Silly Seasons in RSL club history. For the two months we saw what seemed to be a frantic pace by the front office to attract talent into the club and do whatever necessary to build upon the previous season. But it’s not over folks. We still have 2 more full months to cover before our boys step back out on the pitch ahead of the 2020 regular season.
This is one post in a three part series. Stay tuned as we break down the Months of January and February for you.