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This Week in RSL: Utah gets Royal, Phillips returns, and the roster moves near

It’s been a fun week in RSL — but what comes next week could be more meaningful.

MLS: Sporting KC at Real Salt Lake Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been an almost dizzying week around Real Salt Lake, but I think it’s likely I’m just still processing all of Thanksgiving in some way. After all, there wasn’t that much that happened, was there?

UTAH ROYALS FC

Yeah! A name! I was becoming exhausted having to type “Real Salt Lake’s NWSL team” over and over (or variations of that, if I could think of anything slightly less onerous), and Real Salt Lake really bailed me out here. Utah Royals FC. It’s a good name. It’s also a name that had been floating around in the appropriate rumor mills for a few weeks, though it seemed nobody could agree whether it was destined to be “Salt Lake Royals” or “Utah Royals.”

Fitting name, though, right?

Some players were re-signed

Demar Phillips! There’s a name I wasn’t really expecting to see in 2018 at Real Salt Lake. No complaints about that, should he be on a contract that leans more favorably toward the team than the player (something tells me I need to feel guilty about this mode of valuation).

David Horst, Luke Mulholland, Sunny and Sebastian Saucedo are all likely to return themselves after their options were exercised, which seems about right. I’d have brought back the same set — not that anyone asked me (nor should they.)

Some players weren’t brought back (yet)

He had a good run in Salt Lake City once or twice, but Chris Schuler looks like he’s on the outs again after suffering injuries in 2017 that kept him out for significant periods. His awkward gait will never escape my brain, and I’ll miss him for that. And for other things, too.

Joining him on the other end of selection are Matt VanOekel, Reagan Dunk, Justin Schmidt, Omar Holness, Chad Barrett and Ricardo Velazco.

Will any of those players be back in 2018? I might bank on Schmidt having a role next year, maybe with Real Monarchs, but it’s really starting to look like the draft is an outmoded form of player selection. Will it fade into obscurity and lead to some hidden gems there in the future, rather than being seen as a major part of player acquisition? I dunno. You tell me.

Real Monarchs made some moves

A bunch of players left Real Monarchs, and a bunch of players were signed. I’m very curious about how they intend to build the roster, but this 24 to 26-year-old approach is fascinating. If we continue to find overlooked players, I won’t complain. If a more experienced roster can better help our young players from the academy move forward, I’m all in. I really do think that’s the approach here, but this is one of those things we’d sure like to hear from RSL general manager Craig Waibel on.

Movsisyan to Kazakhstan?

This would be the unlikeliest move this offseason, but you know what? I’m saying there’s a chance. It’s tiny, but I could see Movsisyan moving to a less-prominent European league for a team that is gunning for success in the the Europa League.

Anyway, all’s still quiet on the Movsisyan front. Will that change this week?

What we’re watching this week

I have questions!

  • Will Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando re-sign with the club? If they do, do they wait until after the MLS Expansion Draft? (That’s December 12, so we’ll talk more about that this week and next.)
  • Will Brooks Lennon return to the club? He’s returning to Liverpool from his loan, but maybe we’ll strike a deal. That’d be nice.
  • Next Sunday, teams can start signing and trading players. Will there be a flurry of action on the Wasatch Front?