Let the speculation begin. I know that some of the fans and players have said that they do not think we should make changes because we have a good thing going or that any speculation on player movement is not more than a knee-jerk reaction after a tough end to the season. I think we can ask honest questions and still have a rational discussion about needs that the club has. And it is really inevitable that we start to wonder what Real Salt Lake will look like next season with all of the quotes from GM Garth Lagerwey and President Bill Manning, not to mention the salary cap situation. I do not pretend to be an expert, but there are some questions that are worth taking into consideration.
The first question which was brought up last night during the post-game interview with Kreis is the forward situation. In my opinion, Alvaro Saborio and Fabian Espindola do not need to go anywhere. The problem is that RSL does not have a quality 3rd striker that really competes for minutes with those two. When Paulo first arrived, he looked like a revelation. At this point I am of the opinion that he is expendable. Emiliano Bonfigli largely disappears in MLS play (i.e. not reserve matches.) I still have hopes for Justin Braun with a full offseason to work on his skills on the ball. But if we are being honest, the striker situation needs to be addressed.
Next up, I do not think I was the only one that missed Andy Williams this season. RSL lacked another creative, play-making midfielder that can take some of the attention away from Javier Morales. I am not sure what happens here, but I do think it is safe to say that there needs to be more creative balance in the center of the field. Maybe we already have the answers with Luis Gil, Sebastian Velasquez, David Viana, or Enzo Martinez. Either way, something needs to happen.
The last question that needs answering is the center back position. Jamison Olave is a one-of-a-kind defender that is one of the best in the league when he is healthy, but the problem is that his health seems to be declining. Kwame Watson-Siriboe and Chris Schuler could very well be the defenders of the future for this club. At the same time, Nat Borchers and Olave are still a formidable pair. So it would appear that there are some decisions to be made in the defensive end of the field.
It would be helpful to have all the information on players' contract situations as well as a complete understanding of the salary cap stipulations. At the end of the day, those are details that the front office has to worry about. And contracts do not necessarily preclude a trade from occurring. I simply see issues that will have to be addressed moving forward. If someone had a gun to my head and made me tell them which three players I do not think we will see in a RSL uniform again, I would say "Paulo Jr., Olave, and Ned Grabavoy." But that is only because he had a gun to my head. Odds are that I am wrong anyways.
I absolutely do not think that the front office needs to blow up the team. There are a lot of valuable pieces in place, but I do think that a few changes would do Real Salt Lake well.