In the sixth instalment of our 3 Hopes and One Fear for 2012 series, Kali Korbis examines the prospects for Real Salt Lake.
Aside from the obvious wanting to win every game they play in, Kali identifies youth, avoiding the injury curse and finishing as three areas in particular she wishes to see RSL improve.
3 Hopes and One Fear for Real Salt Lake
by Kali Korbis, Salt Lake City
Hope #1: The “kids”.
Jason Kreis and Garth Lagerwey were really complimentary of their draft class this year, and it would seem that preseason has given them good reason to be so far, as Enzo Martinez and Sebastian Velasquez in particular have been garnering attention; hopefully, the coaching staff will be able to bring the younger players along like they did with Luis Gil.
Speaking of Gil, there will be a lot of expectations on him after his success in 2011, and I’m hopeful that he’ll continue on his upward trajectory.
Hope #2: Would it be too vulgar to simply say “trophies”?
At any rate, besides the obvious goal of returning to MLS Cup in 2012, I’d like to see Real put together a strong run at the US Open Cup as well.
RSL’s commitment to the CONCACAF Champions League was evident last year, and it should be a priority when the team returns to the early stages of the tournament later this season.
Hope #3: Consistency in front of goal.
Real tended to run a little hot and cold in front of goal in 2011, sometimes putting up three or four goals and then struggling to find even a single goal the next match. With more options both up front and in attacking midfield available, RSL should be able to find more success in the final third this season, at least on paper.
Fear: Injuries and untimely national team callups.
With so many new faces on the roster this year, it’s a little difficult to predict just how much depth there is at certain positions. For example, although Chris Wingert and Tony Beltran are MLS-tested, injuries to one or both could put the team in a tough situation at outside back — right now, the team is looking at Lance Laing, Kasali Casal, Terukaza Tanaka, and Diogo de Almeida, but we have yet to see who will make the final regular season roster.
With RSL’s “diamond” formation, integrating players who aren’t getting consistent first-team minutes can be tough at any position.