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2022 Real Salt Lake season predictions

With newfound optimism, will results immediately improve?

MLS: Playoffs- Semifinals-Real Salt Lake at Sporting KC Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

We all have our thoughts about what 2022 will look like for Real Salt Lake, and while there’s optimism in the future, I think we all have questions about when that will have a direct impact on results.

Join us as we go through some of our predictions for the upcoming campaign.

Well, we have a new owner, new coach, and a new player or two. The ship is now (hopefully) heading in the right direction, but is it enough to pull us above .500 and the playoff line?

I think we’ll need to keep expectations low this season, as we may finally be in a true “rebuild” season. Pablo will probably continue to work to find his system and where the player fit (or don’t fit) within it. Where are the goals going to come from, and how the defense is set up will be critical questions that hopefully we’ll quickly get answers to.

My thoughts are that the season will start slow, and there’s going to be quite a few draws and loses, but don’t count this team out. Time and time again RSL has proved that when they are up against a wall, they find a way to come through, and I don’t see that changing.

  • Finishing Position: 7th in the Western Conference, second-round playoff exit
  • Top Scorer: Probably Damir Kreilach, but look for Bobby Wood to have a break out season
  • Most assists: Aaron Herrera
  • Most Red cards: David Ochoa

— Matthew Lane

OK, I am just going to go out on the optimistic limb here — we are going to have a great season. I think we have a captain that will bring a lot of positivity to the locker room and field. I think we have owners who are going to be visible and will INVEST in the team - and that means signings during the season. We end up starting a little slow - fans get worried - then we catch on fire. We have a lot of great players, but who cares if we have the best players in the league? The honest truth is I think we see a return to our motto ‘The Team is the Star’ and unselfish play takes us all the way to the Western Conference Finals - surprising critics and fans alike! Go Real!

  • Finishing Position: 4th - we hit our stride around May and never look back. Western Conference Final
  • Top Scorer: Captain Kreilach
  • Most assists: Pablo Ruiz
  • Most surprising event: We sign two or three players that have immediate impacts — one can dream, right?

— Russell MacKay

This season has a lot of “ifs”, as such I’m going out on a limb and saying that we sign Cuellar and Savarino. Those additions to the existing team I believe puts RSL firmly in the playoff picture, and has the moxie to challenge for the Cup. The first part of the season will be a challenge, but Cuellar will join during the summer transfer window and make an immediate impact. Savarino will mesh well with Kreilach and his Venezuelan teammate Cordova to become one of the most dangerous striking trios in the league.

  • Finishing Position: 3rd in the Western Conference, MLS Cup
  • Top Scorer: If we sign Savarino, he will displace Kreilach as the team’s Golden Boot. If not, I’m picking Cordova.
  • Most assists: Damir Kreilach
  • Most likely to remove his jersey in celebration: Bobby Wood

— Kreg Asay

It sounds more than a little weird and leaves a bad taste in my mouth to favorably compare Real Salt Lake and Colorado Rapids, but I really expect the record this season to mirror Pablo Mastroeni’s third, and only winning, season with the Rapids which went 15-6-13 for 51 points. Efforts by the new ownership group to bolster the squad will contribute additional home wins and fewer ties.

  • Finishing Position: 5th in the Western Conference, second-round playoff exit
  • Top Scorer: Bobby Wood. He’ll be taking the penalties won’t he?
  • Most assists: Aaron Herrera, just to spite Brooks Lennon
  • Most likely to get a Celebratory Red Card in a Home Match honoring Kyle Beckerman: Everton Luiz shortly after Diego Chara passes Kyle for Most Yellow Cards.

— Dave Cheever

With the departure of Albert Rusnak, it’s hard to picture Real Salt Lake immediately improving without players coming in. While we’ve heard reports and rumors (thanks, Lucas!) about players coming in, it’s unfulfilled potential until it actually happens. My predictions below reflect things as they stand now, not as they might be. (That’s my out so you can’t hold me to these numbers. You are also legally obligated to include that caveat in any screenshots in which you wish to dunk on me. Thank you.)

  • Finishing Position: 7th in the Western Conference, first-round playoff exit
  • Top Scorer: Damir Kreilach, because who else?
  • Most assists: Aaron Herrera, because history loves to repeat itself
  • First player to reach five goals: Bobby Wood, because it does look like he’ll have a good start to the season — but I’m not expecting him to avoid injuries
  • Most Mustache: David Ochoa

— Matt Montgomery