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RSL winger Jonathan Menendez loaned to Velez

While there is a recall option for Menendez, his time at RSL looks to be drawing to a close.

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Sporting Kansas City Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake announced today the departure of Jonathan Menendez on a six-month loan to Argentine club Velez, a move that signals the close of his chapter in Major League Soccer.

Menendez, 28, joined RSL in May 2021. Despite a slow start, he eventually became a starter for the club under then-coach Freddy Juarez; of his 11 regular season starts for RSL, he made only three under Pablo Mastroeni.

The most obvious contributor to the decline in his playing time was Mastroeni’s preferred tactical approach, playing a 3-5-2 through most of his 2021 tenure. Menendez served no obvious role there as an attacking winger, with players with more defensive stability winning minutes in wide positions. He did return to a starting position for the club’s playoff victories against Seattle Sounders and Sporting Kansas City but was not utilized against Portland Timbers.

The door is not completely shut for Menendez, though, with the club noting in a press release that they “reserve the right to terminate the loan as necessary.”

RSL general manager Elliot Fall:

“We appreciate Joni for everything he has done for our Club in the last year. This loan will allow Joni more opportunities to see the field and rediscover his best form while providing us with increased roster flexibility.”