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Real Salt Lake’s last 10 drafts

Is there still value in the MLS Draft?

MLS: SuperDraft Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake’s draft record has, in a word, been awful. In the last 10 drafts, only five players have made at least 10 appearances for an MLS first team, with the bulk of those coming in 2013 and 2016.

So with today’s news that Aaron Herrera is likely headed to Montreal for a deal that includes a first-round draft pick, and with tomorrow’s MLS SuperDraft (ugh, that name), I thought it would be enlightening to review the draft and how it’s gone for RSL. Here’s a hint: not well.

Obviously a player like Jasper Löffelsend is going to color our expectations, but he was the first drafted player to see first-team minutes of any volume since 2017. While the club held a reasonably good record in 2013, that value’s just not been there for the last nine drafts.

Will 2023 prove an exception? I’ve gotta be honest — I can’t imagine it will.

At any rate, if RSL does pick up a first-round draft pick from CF Montréal, let’s hope it’s not for 2023, because they pick 25th, owing to a good finish to the year. Real Salt Lake picks 16th, which, incidentally, is one of the numbers we haven’t picked in the last decade. So that’s neat!

2022: Fonseca, Löffelsend

  • 53rd: Pedro Fonseca — signed with Real Monarchs.
  • 81st: Jasper Löffelsend — signed with Real Monarchs, then a hardship deal, then a first-team deal, and is suddenly really great.

2021: Halsey, Amo

  • 7th: Bret Halsey — now with MLS Next Pro side FC Cincinnati 2. Never saw the first team.
  • 34th: Elijah Amo — never signed, now in NISA at Maryland Bobcats, where he had five goals and four assists in 2022.
  • 61st: Aris Briggs — signed with Real Monarchs. Spent 2022 with Indy Eleven.
  • 84th: Rene White — never signed, never played professionally.

2020: Harris, Wetungu

  • 20th: Dayonn Harris — one season with Real Monarchs and has been at Tampa Bay Rowdies since.
  • 46th: Michael Wetungu — two appearances at Real Monarchs, no club since.
  • 72nd: PASS

2019: Brown, Coffee

2018: Lopez-Espin

  • 33rd: Ricky Lopez-Espin — played one match with Real Salt Lake in 2018, picked by LAFC in 2018 Waiver Draft, then played in USL League 1. Hasn’t played since 2020.
  • 51st: PASS

2017: Dunk, Schmidt, Putna

  • 13th: Reagan Dunk — played three matches with RSL, retired at the end of the season.
  • 35th: Justin Schmidt — played nine matches for RSL in 2017, left for Sacramento Republic and then New Mexico United. Retired at the end of 2021.
  • 48th: Andrew Putna — played 25 MLS matches with RSL, then suspended from the team after “making derogatory remarks about a teammate’s national origin.”
  • 57th: PASS

2016: Holness, Lachowecki, Amankona, Sparrow

  • 5th: Omar Holness — last at Bath City, English non-League side in Conference South. Recently wrapped up his degree at UNC after leaving early as a Generation Adidas player. Played 18 matches for RSL.
  • 25th: Max Lachowecki — with Real Monarchs in 2016 and 2017, joined Tampa Bay Rowdies but hasn’t played since 2021. Presumed retired.
  • 46th: Amass Amankona — 25 matches with Real Monarchs in 2016, then sparing time in USL League One until end of 2020.
  • 65th: Connor Sparrow — still a professional, playing regularly at Miami FC in USL Championship
  • 66th: PASS

2015: Okwuonu, Murrell, Baldin

  • 27th: Boyd Okwuonu — hasn’t played professionally since leaving RSL at 2016’s end, played reasonably regularly for Real Monarchs.
  • 57th: Jordan Murrell — floated around second and third division teams in the U.S. and Canada, no professional activity since end of 2020.
  • 77th: Lucas Baldin — regular appearances for Real Monarchs in 2015, played in Venezuela in 2016, retired following 2016 season.

2014: Neil, Dillon, Jackson

  • 18th: Ryan Neil — didn’t sign with RSL, went to San Jose, never played. Retired following 2014 season.
  • 53rd: Joey Dillon — didn’t sign with RSL, spent two years at Arizona United (now Phoenix Rising), retired following 2015 season.
  • 70th: Danny Jackson — played across NASL, NISA and USL until end of 2021 season.

2013: Stertzer, Sandoval

  • 12th: John Stertzer — played at RSL until 2016, moved to NYCFC, retired following 2017 season.
  • 29th: Devon Sandoval — remarkably still playing after a heart surgery last year, been a standout for New Mexico United.