Editorial (November 20, 2016) – Earlier this year, Javier Morales announced that he will not return to Real Salt Lake in 2017. This brings a serious change for both parties. RSL is in need of a rebuild, having parted ways with one of the veteran core players. Morales has been with RSL since 2007. Where do Javier Morales and Real Salt Lake go from here? Let’s break it down.
Javier Morales And Real Salt Lake Part Ways: Possible Landing Spots And What’s Next For RSL
First off, Morales should be remembered by RSL and the fan base. He played over 200 games for the club over a decade. He was a key piece to the 2009 MLS Cup championship team. He was a leader when the team got back to the final in 2013. He was an effective and economical DP No. 10 and helped pave the way for Argentine play makers in MLS.
It is disappointing he couldn’t get a better send off, especially since he didn’t want to leave.
Possible Landing Places For Javi Mo
Morales has two kids, both of whom were born and raised in Utah. His family is settled there, so it seems likely he’ll want to stay in the league. He’ll be 37 years old in January. At that age, he isn’t going to command term or salary in MLS.
So which teams could be looking for a Mauro Rosales type player who can play a bench role and create chances?
FC Dallas could be a real possibility. Rosales might not return for Dallas next year. Mauro Diaz is going to be out awhile with his Achilles rehab. Dallas will have the knockout round of the CONCACAF Champions League to start 2017.
Oscar Pareja‘s system fits Morales perfectly as a South American No. 10. He’d get a chance to play to start the year, and probably come off the bench at times. Pareja could use him in the locker room to help mentor the younger players as well.
The Houston Dynamo could also be a possibility. Wilmer Cabrerra will be bringing a Latin flare to the Dynamo. Houston doesn’t really have a No. 10 (or that many chance creators) on their roster right now. They haven’t used much TAM since it was introduced to the league. They could give Morales a nice offer and give him a shot. If Erik ‘Cubo’ Torres were to stay with the club, the two might play well together.
I could see Morales reuniting with former RSL coach Jason Kreis at Orlando City SC. Kreis will be implementing his system in the off-season. He could use him as a back up to Kaka, while he looks to bridge the gap with a post-Kaka No. 10. Orlando City will also be opening their new stadium in 2017 with a grass surface. Morales won’t have to worry about playing on turf.
RSL Needs Reinforcements
Jeff Cassar took over for Kreis at RSL back in 2013. At the time, the narrative is that they’d be ok for the next few years. They had Morales, Kyle Beckerman, and Jamison Olave. They had a good academy and a few young players.
Fast forward to 2016. That veteran core is old and on the way out. No Homegrowns have asserted themselves. Justen Glad has a lot of potential at center back. That’s about it.
Cassar tried to shake things up playing a 4-3-3 for most of the year. It was clear Morales didn’t have a role in that formation. That formation seems to be a good plan for the future with Joao Plata and the forward core. Right now, they need help at wide midfield. They might also need to make a signing at center back.
RSL is probably in for a tough 2017. They could very well miss the playoffs. They need to use there academy assets and probably make a TAM level signing or two.
Either way, Javier Morales and Real Salt Lake are in for a very different and challenging 2017.