Columbus Crew’s Return From Depths Of Despair Provides Glimmer Of Hope For RSL
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Just over three years ago the former owner of the Columbus Crew announced his intentions to move the franchise to Austin, Texas. Now, the same club that still resides in Columbus, Ohio is on the verge of winning its second MLS Cup. Real Salt Lake must take notice.
The turmoil and constant scandal that has haunted and incapacitated RSL over the last few years has taken its toll. The club is wounded and in desperate need of some tender loving care.
— Crew SC Academy (@CrewSCAcademy) December 11, 2020
The Columbus Catastrophe
On October 17th, Jay Anthony Precourt, former owner of Columbus Crew, threatened the community of Columbus, Ohio to move the team to Austin, Texas if the city of Columbus could not grant him a stadium in the downtown metropolitan area.
Precourt and MLS Commissioner Don Garber collaborated over a two-year span in an attempt to solve the situation. The supporters fought desperately to keep their beloved club in Columbus. Many of whom would spend hours at the cities council building pleading their case in hopes the Crew would remain Columbus bound.
Columbus, however, was in a different position than what RSL currently finds itself in.
Dell Loy Hansen issued the following statement as it relates to the possibility of RSL moving–
“We are fully invested in supporting the transition to new ownership and will work diligently to try to ensure that the Club stays within our community.”
Despite the recent dismissal of Utah Royals FC, RSL fans should feel rather confident that RSL will remain in Utah. The Royals and RSL are two very different entities but that conversation can wait for another day.
Currently, the RSL fanbase is not overly fearful of losing their team, much like Crew fans were back in 2017.
Columbus Crew SC are MLS Cup bound! 🏆 pic.twitter.com/9sHHSuJ5VH
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 6, 2020
Take Note, RSL
However, the similarities between the two clubs exist because of poor management. Poor management in all facets of the institution, RSL has endured a bad culture for far too long.
Players, coaches, staff and everybody in between deserves better. The fans need more. The club used to be a happy pot of success. As a small market, the success in which RSL had a decade ago was unprecedented. It captivated the hearts of the local community and will forever be a sanctuary to thousands of soccer-mad fans.
The last couple of years have been difficult as the club has shifted towards a more youth foundation. The RSL Academy and the players that it produces were a priority for the decision-makers. However, the culture ceased any and all hard work. Recently, RSL has lost its most prized possessions; quality Academy players.
The likes of Sebastian Soto, Richie Ledezma and Taylor Booth are all playing overseas after developing their skillsets and talents at the RSL Academy. Years prior, the first team gobbled up the likes of Aaron Herrera, Justen Glad and Sebastian Saucedo. Times have changed.
What the Crew has been able to do since the debacle of Precourt in 2017 is nothing short of remarkable. New faces entered the organization following a change in ownership. One of the brightest young managers in the game was hired, Caleb Porter.
Tim Bezbatchenko was brought in as the General Manager and the two transformed a once tired, beat up club into a 2020 MLS Cup finalist.
RSL does not necessarily need new coaches or a new front office. To be fair to them, the fanbase really does not know the capabilities of GM Elliot Fall and Manager Freddy Juarez simply due to the incompetence of owner Dell Loy Hansen and his constant willingness to intrude on soccer decisions.
Our club, our city, our home #RSL
— Real Salt Lake (@realsaltlake) August 30, 2020
The club needs financial backing.
The recipe for good ownership has been proven. You buy a club with a long-term investment in mind, understanding that financial losses throughout the tenure are expected. But when the time comes to depart and sell, the club is in a better position than when you took over.
You do not make money owning a professional sporting franchise, you make money when you sell.
RSL needs tender loving care and with the appropriate leadership and guidance from a shrewd ownership group, RSL will climb the Western Conference standings and get back to competing for MLS glory.
Have faith because if the Columbus Crew did it under more dire circumstances then RSL can too.
MLS Cup Info
Columbus Crew will host the Seattle Sounders on Saturday, December 12th with kickoff expected at 6:30 p.m.
The Crew will be looking for their second MLS Cup title while the Sounders will be looking for their third. It is the fourth time in five seasons that Seattle has reached the MLS Cup Final.
The match will be broadcast on FOX.
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