Real Salt Lake To Make Big 2023 Roster Decisions Shortly

Oct 18, 2022, 2:02 PM | Updated: Nov 7, 2022, 2:13 pm
Real Salt Lake manager Pablo Mastroeni walks the sideline at Q2 Stadium during the clubs penalty shootout loss to Austin FC in the opening round of the 2022 MLS Playoffs on Sunday, October 16. (Photo by Laura Dearden/Real Salt Lake)
(Photo by Laura Dearden/Real Salt Lake)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Real Salt Lake front office has a lot of roster decisions to make this offseason and they must be made sooner rather than later.

Multiple Real Salt Lake players are up for contract negotiations while other players will wait to learn whether or not the club picks up their option ahead of the 2023 season.

The club does not want to replicate the fiasco that unfolded with Albert Rusnák during last year’s offseason. Rusnák was out of contract with the club and it took the club until the middle of January to make a decision on their previous captain. Decisions this off-season must come soon to allow the club to begin preparations for the January transfer window.

Striker Duo Up For Contract

Most notably, striker Bobby Wood, who missed the second half of the 2022 season following an abductor injury will wait to learn if the club will renew his contract for another year. Given the injury woes, it would be unlikely that Real Salt Lake picks up the option on Wood for 2023.

However, if Wood and his representatives can agree on a new annual salary with the club, Wood will likely return under a new contract in 2023.

Sergio Córdova is the other striker that Real Salt Lake must make a decision on. Córdova joined the club at the start of the 2022 campaign on loan with an option to purchase from Bundesliga side FC Augsburg. Córdova ended 2022 leading the club in goals scored with 11, while also adding 2 assists. At times, Córdova looked to be the most dominant player on the pitch but also struggled throughout stretches.

Unlikely Renewals

A handful of players will be fortunate to still be at the club in 2023.

Tate Schmitt, who began the year in blistering form scoring two goals within the opening four games despite playing at the left wingback position, battled to even get a spot on the bench towards the end of the season. The 25-year-old is running out of time to prove that he is an MLS-caliber player.

Nick Besler is also a player that will be lucky to receive another contract for the 2023 season. Besler only managed to play in 12 games this season and is the fourth midfielder on the roster behind Braian Ojeda, Pablo Ruiz, and Jasper Löffelsend.

Back-up goalkeeper Tomas Gomez, 29, could also be on the chopping block while Chris Garcia, who the club has loaned out twice within 12 months, is also going to be fortunate to see another deal at RSL.

Johan Kappelhoff, who is making close to $300,000 a year, will also almost certainly be cut prior to the 2023 season.

Biggest Transfer Window In Club History Upcoming

Real Salt Lake is expected to hold exit interviews within the next week. KSL Sports will be present throughout the exit interview process and will report on all of the upcoming decisions as they occur.

The importance of the upcoming roster decisions is exaggerated considering the club is likely to spend significant money in the January transfer window. The current roster is in need of an upgrade at specific positions for the club to truly contend for silverware in 2023.

The January transfer window will also mark the first time in January that Mastroni, the front office, and the club’s ownership will work alongside one another. In June, the club signed Braian Ojeda, Bryan Oviedo, and Danny Musovski during the first full transfer window that Mastroeni was in charge.

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