A new year added new beginnings for Real Salt Lake.
After what seemed to be an historic pace of signings, rumors and hirings by the front office we had what seemed to be a decade of radio silence. I’ll blame that on the holidays for now as we take a dive into the month of January.
At this point in the off-season fans are starting to run a muck on twitter. We still had no clue what were were going to see from the veterans Kyle Beckerman, João Plata and Luke Mulholland. And while we did see a few signings during January we just weren’t sure what was going to come of our lineup.
The RSL Marketing Team, however, had a fun way to keep us fans engaged as they released this little teaser of what many speculated to be Captain Kyle’s knees sporting the sacred blue shorts. Quite honestly the buzz around the new kit had this fan getting really excited for the boys to report back to Herriman to commence the 2020 pre-season. Let’s break down the events that took place in January.
January 14, 2020 - RSL signs Milan Iloski to a homegrown contract
After the turn of the new year and a quiet stretch at the rumor mill, silence was broken with news that another one of our homegrown prospects was offered a contract by the front office. All reports indicate that this kid ripped up the pitch for UCLA and he even scored a school record 5 goals in a single game. Take that at face value as that level of play is, well, low. Either way, I don’t think that we should sleep on the youngster.
January 20, 2020 - Kyle Beckerman, not quite done yet
We truly didn’t know whether or not the days of the club legend had come to an end. A thought that truly had a lot of fans searching deep into their contact lists to dig up any information possible out there on the MLS Rockstar. To me, it was no surprise that the club announced the veteran would continue on. Kyle is the most well known player for the side and one of the most well known in US Soccer history. We’re glad you’re around for at least one more cap. And we’re also really excited to see how Freddy utilizes your aging legs.
If nothing else, Kyle provides a level of work ethic to this team that is truly irreplaceable, and while the old guard is completely done with this side, Kyle we expect that level of leadership to continue to push our lads to the next level. To the all-time foul leader of Major League Soccer we tip our hats and raise our scarves; for we all know there is a bit more left in the tank.
January 29, 2020 - No one could’ve guessed this one
This spicy rumor came out of nowhere. Giuseppe Rossi was reportedly seen kicking the ball with the boys down in Arizona. I have to admit — even though he’s been without a club and nursing injuries for a while — this rumor had/has me giddy. I certainly hope we can add someone of this caliber to the club. He’d certainly come in and provide massive impact to our attacking core. As long as the price is right, I’m 100% on board with Peppe having his MLS Debut with our boys in red and blue.
January 24, 2020 - New year, new deal for Corey Baird
If you’ve been following the 2018 MLS Rookie of the Year you know that he’s the one person on the field running, non stop, all match, every match. Corey has earned his way into our hearts and into a new long term deal with the club. Good on ya, Corey. Now all we can do is wait and hope to see buckets of goals from the Homegrown/Stanford product.
January 28, 2020 - Toronto FC’s, Ashtone Morgan added to roster
This one came out of nowhere and now, here we are with a deep enough backline that will grant us hope of the RIOT becoming a fortress once again. Ashtone Morgan, the Canadian left-back was pulled out of free-agency to join the team here in Sandy. Glad he’s here, don’t know too much about him, but I’m excited to see him push Toia for minutes and provide depth to a glaring weak spot on our roster.
Either way, at this point in the off-season, we are all very happy to see that Fall and friends have been making some smooth moves. At this point rumors continued to heat up for our missing front liners and the vision is all but coming together.
The boys are back in town. With a LOT of new faces. The best part of breaking down January for me has been to discover that some of the rumors we had started to hear around potential bigger names joining the side were starting to sprout up everywhere. cough cough, Rossi. The worst part, however, is that we hadn’t nailed down anybody impressive in the attack that would’ve worth the talent that had left us in the previous months. And we were left with only rumors to ease our minds.
While I’m happy we have added some solid depth to our backline (the starting squad is exactly the same as it has been which is a really good way to go into a new season) I’d argue that RLS’ biggest weaknesses have been in the attacking third as of late. We need to get people on the pitch who can create and finish. Will the reported rumors and appearances at camp help ease my worries? Keep an eye out for next week’s post to find out!
This is part to of a three part series. If you missed out on part one, check it out here. Stay tuned as we break down the month of February for you.