After Breakout Rookie Year, RSL’s Baird Looks To Change Games In 2019
SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake’s Corey Baird exceeded all expectations in 2018.
Prior to the start of the year, Baird was unaware what his role would be, he anticipated a role off the bench and was content in playing whatever role Mike Petke asked of him.
Little did he know he would start most games at striker and win MLS Rookie Of The Year honors.
Entering year number two for the highly touted Stanford attacker, Baird is again optimistic and excited to see what 2019 has in store.
Lessons From National Camp
In January, Baird was called into the USA National Team camp and received his first two caps for the USA team. During those games he notched one assist playing in his preferred position, the wing.
“It was awesome seeing some of the guys that through high school and college that you look at and go ‘wow,’ these are some of the best players in our country. Being able to meet them and train with them on a daily basis was a really cool experience,” said Baird, who continued to say it was lot like playing with RSL legends Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando.
Returning to his duties with RSL, there were many question marks entering the 2019 MLS season regarding what role Baird would play especially after his success on the national level playing the left wing.
Left Wing Or Striker?
During Real Salt Lake’s season-opening game against the Houston Dynamo, Baird started on the left wing. He was very impressive, assisting on the only goal of the match for RSL.
As for whether or not he’ll stay in that position or move to striker, it remains up in the air.
According to RSL manager Mike Petke, it will largely depend on how the team matches up with its opponent.
“Corey is a very good player who could be used in two different spots and depending on who we play is most likely going to dictate that,” said Petke.
Regardless of where he lines, up Baird is going to make a difference . He is tireless in his work ethic, flying up and down the pitch constantly trying to chase balls down and create an attack for RSL. He can also beat you with his speed and skill, his ability to run around defenders at will is very impressive for a player who is still in the very early days of his career.
His future is very bright.
Real Salt Lake’s season home opener takes place on March 9 at 4 p.m. against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The match is available to be streamed for free on KSLSports.com or on the KSL5 TV app.