MLS ’12 Preview – Real Salt Lake
Coach: Jason Kreis
Last Season: 15-11-8 = 53 PTS, 3rd in the Western Conference, Overall 3rd in the League
Twitter Hashtag: #RSL
Since the retirement of Jason Kreis as a player, Real Salt Lake has quickly become one of the top sides in the league as well as a dangerous side that will play hard for their head coach. They were a goal away from winning the CONCACAF Champions League against Monterrey of the Mexican Primera Division, and lost to eventual MLS Cup Champion Los Angeles Galaxy in the Western Conference Final.
This is a tight and close knit side that will play for each other and for the fans of Salt Lake City. They will always believe that they are in contention in any Cup competition. As always they will fight for the cause.
Coaching Staff and Front Office: Jason Kreis will continue to take the reins and Garth Lagerway will find a way to fix problems if they do come up. But right now things are looking good for both men, and they won’t be too worried.
Additions: Chris Enger of the RSL Show is really excited about the addition of Argentine forward Emiliano Bonfigli as he might crack the starting eleven. His speed has impressed the coaching staff. Also making the team is Enzo Martinez, keeper Kyle Reynish and a few others. Japanese defender Terukazu Tanaka will help the backline.
Subtractions: Robbie Russell, who was a rock in the backline, has moved on to DC United. The retirement of Andy Williams allows him to move up to a scouting role in the organization, which should help this team improve.
Projected Starters: Nick Rimando, who is always a hard worker, will be charged with keeping the balls out of the Salt Lake net once again for RSL.
The central defense is well-settled with two stalwarts, Jamison Olave and the tall Nat Borchars. Tony Beltran and maybe Tanaka will help fill out the rest of the backline.
Midfielders of course should include Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales, Will Johnson and Ned Grabavoy. Fabian Espindola will be paired up top with either Bonfigli or Paulo Jr.
Best Case Scenario: RSL finishes in the top three again alongside LA & Seattle, and makes another playoff run – and don’t count out another CONCACAF Champions League in the 2012-13 season.
Worst Case Scenario: At the moment injuries have already crept into the squad, and the injury to Morales has taken a turn for the worse. If injuries pile up, we will see if some of the younger players in the roster can handle the pressure.
Prediction: Real Salt Lake should claim the second position in the west, but if they can find a way to nick three points at LA in the Home Depot Center, they could sneak into the top spot in the conference.