Real Salt Lake Season Preview

Real Salt Lake Season Preview

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On March 9, 2009
  • 10 Comments
  • 2009 Season Preview, Jason Kreis, Javier Morales, Season Previews, Will Johnson

Ah, time to continue on with our 2009 season previews. Today we head out to Rio Tinto Stadium to preview the always interesting Real Salt Lake. This club was an eye-lash away from reaching the MLS Cup a season ago, now Jason Kreis has his crew ready to go for the new season.

2008 record and finish: 10-10-10, 40 pts., third in west, lost in western conference finals

Offseason Player Movement:
Incoming:
Ned Grabavoy (waiver draft)
Jean Alexandre (SuperDraft)
Raphael Cox (SuperDraft)
Luis Escalada (signed)

Outgoing:
Nik Besagno (waived)
Kenny Cutler (waived)
Dustin Kirby (waived)
Nathan Sturgis (Seattle Sounders FC – Expansion Draft)
Dema Kovalenko (trade with LA)
Kenny Deuchar (Hamilton Academical – Scotland)
Fabian Espindola (unknown club in Venezuela)
Kevin Reiman (waived)
Brennan Tennelle (waived)

Question going into 2009:

1. Did RSL actually improve in the offseason?

Just like most clubs this winter, RSL went with the hope of the less is more approach to the season. Very few additions and loads of players released or let go. Even though RSL was very close to the MLS Cup a season ago they were still extremely average last year with their lovely 10-10-10 record. I look at who they lost and really begin to wonder if this gamble will work for Kreis and company. They should have a go-to scorer in Will Johnson, we know about Javier Morales and what he brings to the table but my biggest concerns are the defense in the midfield and in the backline.

Defensively this club was pretty sound like year but losing their two defensive midfielders in Nathan Sturgis and Dema Kovalenko this winter really hurts. That bite that Kovalenko brought to the middle of the park will be tough to repleace.

2. Will we ever see Chris Seitz in goal for this club?

Kreis has said a few times this winter that Seitz will get his chances this year more than he has before. Thing is he cannot continue to sit on the bench with all his potential and skills that he has. If he continues to sit he loses some of his trade value, something I am sure the club is looking at right now.

We know Nick Rimando is good but a lot of people see Seitz as another Brad Guzan type keeper. Can’t keep Seitz on the bench too long here. I fully expect to see him more this season.

3. Breakout player to watch this year.

Yura Movsisyan is the guy RSL needs to have the break out season. I believe I had him here a year ago and late in the season he started to get there. I think 2009 is now the season he truly breaks out into the striker that his former clubs wish they still had. Plus word has it he will be in a contract year, we all know what that does to players looking for more money.

Look at the 2009 Schedule:

A SuperLiga type schedule for this club. Heavy in a couple months, light in summer months. As hard as their first few games are they must get off to a quick start with three early home games in April. I say that because May comes with a flury of road games, four out of six games to be exact.

I still love that the final game of the year is against Colorado. That is something I hope the league is able to do more of, scheduling rivalry games as the final game of the year. Remember how much was on the line last year with those two, I fully expect this year to be the same way.

2009 Season Outlook:

It may be too early to call this club a MLS Cup contender but there is no denying that Jason Kreis has them moving in the right direction here. They are young and exciting to watch…not to mention their home stadium is beautiful.

Depth is a serious issue with this club, especially in the middle of the park. Should Morales or Kyle Beckerman take a hit for a while this club could struggle offensively.

Missing the playoffs would be a giant step backward for this club but the talent is there to get back to the post season. Make a move or two in the summer and this could be a true contender.

  • CMcAfee

    Drew,<br />
    RSL has also signed Luis Escalada to a contract that can either be extended or dropped come April 15. As he is signed with the league and club I would mention him here under player movement.

  • WVHooligan

    Thanks CM, I will add him…I wasn't totally sure about his contract situation as it was pretty different than other players on trial.

  • CMcAfee

    Drew,
    RSL has also signed Luis Escalada to a contract that can either be extended or dropped come April 15. As he is signed with the league and club I would mention him here under player movement.

    • Thanks CM, I will add him…I wasn’t totally sure about his contract situation as it was pretty different than other players on trial.

  • Matt

    So I understant that Real (stupid name) is going into the season with Robbie Findley, Movsisyan and Will Johnson as their go to scorers???<br />
    <br />
    These guys have like 10 career goals between them.<br />
    <br />
    The D should be ok but they are clearly shy a defensive mid, a solid right mid and an experienced scorer. <br />
    <br />
    Still think they should have kept Espinola.

  • Matt

    So I understant that Real (stupid name) is going into the season with Robbie Findley, Movsisyan and Will Johnson as their go to scorers???

    These guys have like 10 career goals between them.

    The D should be ok but they are clearly shy a defensive mid, a solid right mid and an experienced scorer.

    Still think they should have kept Espinola.

  • SP

    -No one but non-fans call it Real. Its RSL<br />
    -Considering Findley, Yura and Johnson are all fairly young and have only been playing a total of 3 years (maybe) between them, we arent that bad off.<br />
    -Isn't Kyle Beckerman a proven d-mid in MLS yet? <br />
    -D looks &quot;ok&quot;? Seriously? I bet its one of the best if not the best in MLS.<br />
    -Agree on Espindola, but he took a much higher paying job. Oh well. Lets hope El Gorto comes thru.

  • SP

    -No one but non-fans call it Real. Its RSL
    -Considering Findley, Yura and Johnson are all fairly young and have only been playing a total of 3 years (maybe) between them, we arent that bad off.
    -Isn’t Kyle Beckerman a proven d-mid in MLS yet?
    -D looks “ok”? Seriously? I bet its one of the best if not the best in MLS.
    -Agree on Espindola, but he took a much higher paying job. Oh well. Lets hope El Gorto comes thru.

  • Allez RSL

    Johnson isn't a go-to scorer. He's going to play right mid, if we can find a left-mid. Rookie Raphael Cox and potential signee Rachid el Khalifi could fill that position. <br />
    <br />
    Beckerman and Robbie Russel can play d-mid. From the noises out of the FO, Jean Alexandre is ready to play there as well.<br />
    <br />
    The decision to cut Espindola was financial in nature. He was here on loan and the team couldn't afford to buy out his contract. There as been some talk (probably no better than wishful thinking, though) of picking him up this summer when his current contract expires.<br />
    <br />
    Oh, and he currently plays for Deportivo Anzo&aacute;tegui in Venezuela. He's often listed as Edgar Espindola, and he apparently scored in one of the Libertadores play-in matches.

  • Allez RSL

    Johnson isn’t a go-to scorer. He’s going to play right mid, if we can find a left-mid. Rookie Raphael Cox and potential signee Rachid el Khalifi could fill that position.

    Beckerman and Robbie Russel can play d-mid. From the noises out of the FO, Jean Alexandre is ready to play there as well.

    The decision to cut Espindola was financial in nature. He was here on loan and the team couldn’t afford to buy out his contract. There as been some talk (probably no better than wishful thinking, though) of picking him up this summer when his current contract expires.

    Oh, and he currently plays for Deportivo AnzoŠtegui in Venezuela. He’s often listed as Edgar Espindola, and he apparently scored in one of the Libertadores play-in matches.