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This Week in RSL: Expansion draft, Beckerman Claus, TAM and more

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Los Angeles Galaxy Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

With all more or less quiet on the Utah Royals front this week, we’ve turned out attention back toward Real Salt Lake. With that, we’ve got quite a busy little week behind us, and we’ll probably have a much busier week in front of us.

The highlights?

Expansion draft list released

The 2017 MLS Expansion Draft lists were released, and we learned a few things, like...

  • Yura Movsisyan hasn’t been protected, which betrays our expectation somewhat — we expected that he would be, given he was reported to have a no-trade clause in his contract.
  • Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando were both protected, which makes me think we’re close to a new contract with both of those. We’ll just have to sit on this one until we know more.
  • Tony Beltran wasn’t protected, which makes sense given his long-term injury.

Kyle Beckerman, 2018, and the future of Real Salt Lake

It sure is starting looking like a lot like Christmas, which really just means that Kyle Beckerman might be in the middle of contract negotiations with Real Salt Lake. All the Santa emojis. All of them.

Toronto vs. Seattle

If you missed out on this year’s iteration of MLS Cup, you missed what was actually a pretty exciting game. After last year’s exciting-if-you-like-desperate-defending win by Seattle Sounders, Toronto FC came in looking for blood.

Toronto coach Greg Vanney went with a back four rather than his normal back three (take that, three-at-the-back advocates), and the way the midfield set up allowed Toronto to wholly and absolutely dominate the game. Possession, shots, chances — it all went Toronto’s way.

That ended up being a pretty satisfying game to watch as a neutral. We got to see Stefan Frei act with everything he had, we got a little controversy (but not too much), and we saw some excellent scoring opportunities. A good year — but one wonders what it would have been like with us in the running.

Targeted allocation money!!!

Major League Soccer really just loves Friday news drops, and this week was no exception. This time, it was to announce a huge infusion of targeted allocation money, which, for reference, is yet another way for teams to spend beyond the salary budgets set in stone by the MLS Collective Bargaining Agreement. TAM, which is what you’ll usually hear it called, can be used for:

  • Signing or re-signing players whose salary and acquisition costs are between the designated player minimum and $1.5 million
  • Up to $200,000 can be used to sign new homegrown players to their first MLS contracts
  • Converting a designated player to a non-designated player, buying down that player’s salary budget charge below the maximum

That new amount? A lump of $2.8 million in TAM to be used in each of the 2018 and 2019 seasons. That’s in addition to two lumps of $1.2 million in targeted allocation money that can be used for 2018 and 2019, although the 2019 amount can also be pulled into 2018 — meaning teams have $4 million or $5.2 million in TAM to use — next year. With a salary budget of $4.035 million in 2018, that’s a pretty significant increase. Given the specificity of the ways it can be spent, TAM doesn’t literally double a team’s budget, but it does provide some flexibility that’s truly unseen in MLS history.

RSL’s preseason plans

Arizona! It looks like we’ll be playing in Tucson again, which is great. It’s warm there in February. Like, don’t bring a jacket warm. There are no real details yet, just an announcement from Phoenix Rising FC and FC Tucson, so we’ll just have to sit and wait until there’s more.

Tony Beltran, out until August

This was my least favorite news of the bunch. Tony Beltran is an important player for us, and without him, we need to rethink our right back strategy. This doesn’t mean we need to make changes, but we do have to think.