The new season is here and just like we try to do before each game, we bring in a fellow blogger on the SBN network of site. This week to help preview FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake, we welcome back Matt Montgomery to answer a few questions ahead of tomorrow’s season opener.
BDS: RSL made the push to go younger with their roster last year by starting a lot of Homegrown players. Is that push still going on for 2018? Or will see more veteran players back in the lineup under Mike Petke?
RSL: That push is absolutely still going. Of all the players that left Real Salt Lake during the offseason, our homegrown and younger players are still very much at the forefront. In a way, we’ve even doubled down on their involvement, bringing in Corey Baird and Aaron Herrera. They make up a not insubstantial part of our team, and it’s something we need to be mindful of as we move forward into the new season. That’s because we did bring in some more veteran players, and we will hopefully strike the right balance between the two — it’s not always the easiest part of Mike Petke’s job, I would imagine.
BDS: What were some big offseason moves that RSL made that aren’t being discussed?
RSL: We brought in a true box-to-box midfielder with Bundesliga experience in Damir Kreilach, and we signed a former Premier League-quality right back. We’ve heard plenty about Alfredo Ortuño’s arrival as our new no. 9 striker, but those two play less glamorous roles. Really, our offseason moves are the things that interest me most, because we’ve really shed a lot of the cruft from the team. None of the players lost played significant minutes save Chris Wingert, who retired and was certainly ready to do so.
BDS: We have to ask, what made Kyle Beckerman cut his hair in the offseason? And will it make any difference?
RSL: I wish I knew. I miss the dreadlocks already — but I suspect it’s just him growing up or something. This is probably his last contract with the club, and while it’s a shame the dreadlocks are gone, I’m just glad he’s back. Maybe he’s thinking about his transition to a non-playing career. Interestingly, we still don’t have a true replacement for Beckerman in the wings, so there are plenty of questions remaining.
Lineup projection (4-2-1-3)
Rimando; Herrera - Glad - M. Silva - Phillips; Beckerman - Mulholland; Rusnak; Savarino - L. Silva - Plata