Real Salt Lake Set Up For Silverware Following Transfer Window Flurry
SALT LAKE CITY – Every professional organization around the world dreams of hoisting silverware, but within every league, only a handful of clubs have a realistic chance of doing so.
Real Salt Lake has positioned itself with a roster that is capable of winning it all. The club has risen from the depths of the mess made by former owner Dell Loy Hansen and now finds itself operating in a very efficient manner. The David Blitzer and Ryan Smith ownership group has instilled a sense of belief within the organization, the guidance of manager Pablo Mastroeni has added to the sense of unity, and now the roster is built with the expectation that silverware is forthcoming.
Real Salt Lake made a late splash in the first transfer window signing Anderson Julio and Jefferson Savarino to three and four-year deals respectively. They also acquired Swiss native Chris Kablan on a loan deal with an option to purchase. Kablan plays left-back but has experience playing in a variety of positions across the backline.
The added acquisitions solidify Real Salt Lake as a true contender in 2022. Previously, Mastroeni led a 2021 team to the Western Conference Final when pundits from across the country predicted the club to struggle in the postseason. Then, to start the 2022 season, Mastroeni has guided Real Salt Lake to 4 wins, 4 draws and just 2 losses throughout the opening 10 games of the year. They currently sit in fifth place in the West but are tied in points with FC Dallas and the LA Galaxy who are above them due to goal differential.
The goalkeeper position is as strong as it has been since the retirement of club legend Nick Rimando as Zac MacMath has taken the reigns from young prodigy David Ochoa who failed to start the season due to injury. Ochoa is now healthy, but Mastroeni has opted to keep veteran MacMath in between the sticks due to his impressive form.
The backline is sturdy, however, out of all of the positions the backline remains the one position group with the most uncertainty. Specifically, at the left-back position where Andrew Brody has been operating to start the season. Brody is traditionally a right-back but has been filling a void and slotting in at left-back where he has performed admirably. Brody will likely continue to play in the role of left-back until Kablan finds match fitness which is expected to take a number of weeks. Then, the battle for the starting left-back position will officially begin, but as it currently stands, it seems as though that is Brody’s position to lose. Aaron Herrera at right-back and Marcelo Silva and Justen Glad at center back are formidable pieces to the manner in which Real Salt Lake sets up defensively.
The midfield is led by Pablo Ruiz who is having a breakout year statistically. The young Argentine has excelled in the center of the park and is frequently the catalyst to the Real Salt Lake attack. His ability to pass the football on the ground and through the air has proven valuable for Real Salt Lake this season, he does need to improve his finishing, however, as he has missed a number of clear-cut goal-scoring opportunities. Ruiz is accompanied by Everton Luiz and Scott Caldwell who have both been brilliant when their number has been called. Assuming injuries do not run rampant throughout the midfield group, Real Salt Lake is expected to continue its dominance in the center of the park.
The attacking third is stacked. Sergio Córdova and Bobby Wood headline the point of the attack while Rubio Rubin fights for minutes off the bench. Jefferson Savarino, Justen Meram, Maikel Chang, and Anderson Julio are all expected to see minutes on the wing while Damir Kreilach has proven to be one of the top attacking midfielders in the league when healthy.
Real Salt Lake has more attacking prowess this year than it has for many previous seasons. Finding chemistry within the group, especially the newly acquired players in Savarino and Julio, will only add to the firepower for Real Salt Lake up top.
Real Salt Lake travels to Nashville SC next weekend. Kickoff is slated for 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 8.
As always, the match will be available to stream via the KSL Sports and KSL 5 TV apps or on KSL Sports dot com.
Real Salt Lake Scoreboard
Real Salt Lake Team Leaders
Real Salt Lake Standings