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Opinion: With hindsight, what did RSL give up?

George Frey

Everyone knows about the massive roster changes RSL had this past offseason. If not, welcome to the RSL family. Maybe read here and here.

So, the question is, what did RSL give up?

To be lazy, let's just look at goals and assists only, and to be fair both NYRB and POR still have a game to play so these numbers could change. I am also only figuring in players that we traded — sorry, Jonny Steele.

(Ed. note: Real Salt Lake did not take an option on Jonny Steele's contract, and after floating around Ireland and, if memory serves, parts of Asia for a bit, Steele ended up being picked up by New York Red Bulls.)

Fabian Espindola, 9 goals, 2 assists. Jamison Olave, 4 goals, 0 assists. Will Johnson, 8 goals, 5 assists. Grand total, 21 goals, 10 assists.

Espindola the diver had more goals than anyone not named Alvaro. Johnson had either more or equal assists than everyone in 2013 except Javier Morales, Joao Plata, and Kyle Beckerman. Olave had more goals than all of our Defenders combined (4 to 2).

So while RSL certainly overachieved by anyone's standards from the moment those trades went down, and the long term health of RSL is much better off without these players, it was still a big loss to lose this trio. 21 goals and 10 assists. That is a good amount of firepower to be down.

On the plus side we didn't pay the $150,000 owed to Espindola this year, $275,000 owed to Olave, and $243,750 owed to Will Johnson. Which is to say, $668,750 in salary for those 21 goals.

What did we use that money for instead?

I'm going to be overly simplistic (which I know isn't completely accurate) and give out the numbers for players we acquired with at least part of said money. I won't include rookies under the assumption that we would have drafted the same regardless (again just in the name of simplicity).

Robbie Findley ($175,000) 6 goals 2 assists in 1260 minutes — if he played at the same rate and minutes as Fabi he would have scored 9.78 goals so we can call that more or less a wash.

Joao Plata ($60,000) 4 goals 8 assist, a pretty good bargain.

Khari Stephenson ($81,958.33) 1 goal 1 assist.

Lovel Palmer ($71, 500) 0 goals 1 assist.

Olmes Garcia ($120,000) 5 goals 4 assists.

Grand total for new players: $508458.33 salary for 5 players, 16 goals and 15 assists.

- Grand total players traded: $668,750 for 3 players, 21 goals and 10 assists.

Net result for RSL: +$160,291.67, -5 goals, +5 assists.

I think it is fair to call the goal/assist production a wash, and with a win in the salary equivalent to that of adding a Joao Plata and Khari Stephenson with about $20k to spare. Net result big positive in the finance department for RSL. A huge reason RSL had its best depth ever.

Even though there is a chance RSL might just end up losing out on the supporters shield to a team that made a big jump by getting one of the trio we traded (NY only needs to tie to win the SS outright, Portland would need to beat one of the worst teams in the league and have NY have a tie to win the SS) RSL still came out ahead for doing this trade.

It is clear that Garth and Jason know exactly what they were doing and they were able to reproduce the production bit by bit and while the players traded all had great years, RSL's future looks even brighter and the lose was equaled.

Audentis Fortuna Juvat indeed.

(Auth. note: Will Johnson did go on to score another goal. No change from RSL east though they did win the SS, congrats to them!)