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RSL’s biggest storylines ahead of 2022 campaign

The season’s just around the corner. Here’s what we’re thinking about.

Lucas Muller | RSL Soapbox

The 2022 season is around the corner now, and ahead of that, some RSL Soapbox writers are taking a look at some of the storylines about which we’re thinking.

Always our captain, Damir Kreilach. While RSL’s history is still relatively young, especially compared to some of its global counterparts, Kreilach has cemented a fan favorite and respected professional in the league, similar to previous club stalwarts who used to lead the franchise, specifically Kyle Beckerman. While Kreilach’s play speaks loud enough for itself, there is no other player who exudes “The Team Is The Star” than the captain himself. With all of the new changes and star movement happening with the club, I am optimistic in the club’s future and upcoming season, simply because Damir Kreilach is leading the charge.

— Jordan Jacobsen

The biggest storyline for me is one that we’ll have to put on ice for now (not least because it’s snowing as I write this,) and that’s the summer transfer window. Popular consensus is that it’s easier to sign players from Europe during their offseason, which is intuitively true: That, of course, is when players are more likely out of contract from The Continent (and The Isles, I guess,) so it follows that we’d be more likely to land those players then. That’s assuming we’re looking at Europe for designated players, of course.

The big question that comes from a summer window: Can players signed mid-season adapt and contribute immediately? Sometimes the answer is a clear yes — and more often the answer is a clear no. Reality will probably fall somewhere in the middle, and relying on those players to turn a season around may be premature.

— Matt Montgomery

I think a big storyline coming into this season is about healing. This might seem like a strange one, but hear me out. We are entering our post-Dell Loy Hansen period. There was a lot that fans have heard of that was going on behind the scenes and in the front office and well, not a healthy culture. That translated into the fan base.

Real Salt Lake has a passionate fan base, and one thing I love about it is creating a healthy community where all are welcome. Too many people and groups did not seem to be welcome under the previous ownership. I see this season as a season of healing. Where, under new leadership, the fans will hopefully return and fill the RIOT.

I’m hoping the locker room and team can be a place where the team is the star again, where the players can be free to focus on the field and their playing, and not the issues surrounding the club. It may not make the headlines, but this is the headline I’m following: Can we come back together as fans of the club, be proud of what it stands for, and believe?

— Russell MacKay