After getting destroyed by Emmanuel Boateng in the MLS Playoffs last year, Real Salt Lake did some soul searching this offseason. Out with the old, and in with the new. With a lot of changes, Real Salt Lake definitely have their share of questions to be answered this offseason. We’re going to examine three questions that are vital to the success of RSL in 2017.
Three Questions Real Salt Lake Must Answer in 2017
Is Justen Glad Ready To Take Over The Back Line?
Justen Glad is probably the best youth center-back prospect in the US System. He will feature a whole lot this year, in his second season in MLS. Last year, he had somebody like Jamison Olave, a veteran leader and experienced MLS center back to kind of help him along. They chose not to retain Olave, leaving him and Aaron Maund as the “experienced” center-back duo.
That really isn’t a bad thing since Glad and Maund played well together, and together more often in 2016. I have a feeling Glad just might be the next “Matt Miazga” for the league. No, I’m not predicting he’ll sign with Chelsea and then get shipped off to Holland. I’m saying he can be the next really young CB to step up and take over a back line, much like Miazga did in 2015. Time will tell though, and Glad doing exactly that, is vital to RSL’s success this year.
After Plata, Does RSL Have Another Forward Who Can Score?
So, let’s talk about the front line for RSL. Yura Movsisyan, Joao Plata, Albert Rusnak, and Jordan Allen are quite the daunting front four attackers to deal with. What happens if Plata is gone though? What happens if there is an injury? Plata was their leading scorer last season with 10 goals. Behind him was Yura, and then Juan “Burrito” Martinez and Javier Morales.
While they got some really nice goal contributions from the rest of their attackers, Olmes Garcia was the only “forward” who scored a goal off the bench, and he’s gone. The addition of Chad Barrett is frankly underwhelming. He was pretty bad in San Jose last year, and Omar Holness has promise, but may still not be ready.
The question here is who will step up the secondary scoring behind Plata. Ideally, it would be nice to have at least four or five goals from your second striker. If they get that, they’ll be set. But that will be a big question for them in 2017.
Just How Good Will Rusnak Be?
As I’ve been hearing a lot of excitement about Albert Rusnak, I thought it would be smart to do my research on him. I watched a lot of YouTube videos on the man, and came away quite impressed. I also felt the same way about Shkelzen Gashi coming into last season with Colorado. If they can get Gashi level production out of him, that’s great. But I think, for them to really get themselves into the conversation for a top three finish in the Western Conference, he needs to do a little more.
Brooks Lennon and Jordan Allen combined, could be able to fill in the seven goals from “Burrito” that are gone. That means Rusnak is really going to have to bring it at the next level, and be a Nacho Piatti type influence on that team. I’m not talking like for like. The way Piatti elevates Montreal, and can take over a game time after time, that’s what Rusnak might need to do. If Rusnak comes in and destroys the league, then RSL should be in good shape with the Quality they have around him.