RSL: Evaluating the team’s needs heading into the transfer window

KANSAS CITY, KS - APRIL 02: Justen Glad
KANSAS CITY, KS - APRIL 02: Justen Glad /
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SANDY, UT – MARCH 12: Kyle Beckerman
SANDY, UT – MARCH 12: Kyle Beckerman /

Depth Chart: Kyle Beckerman ($825,000), Sunny ($253,000), Luke Mulholland ($172,500), Omar Holness ($133,500). Monarchs Players: Charlie Adams, Nick Besler.

Attacking Depth: Albert Rusnák ($882,812), Jefferson Savarino ($undisclosed), Joao Plata ($400,000), Jordan Allen ($178,000), Sebastian Saucedo ($100,500), Jose Hernandez ($56,379), Brooks Lennon ($53,004) Monarchs Players: Sebastian Velasquez, Andrew Brody, Daniel Haber.

First and foremost, whoever can finish needs to be signed. More on that later.

Midfield also provides plenty of intrigues. Like Rimando, captain Kyle Beckerman is on the last year of his contract, has played a long and successful career, and is still being relied on to contribute at a high level. He and Sunny have shown a lot of promise together, but may be too similar to be as successful as they potentially could be with a different partner.

Luke Mulholland has traditionally been that other partner, but, like Aaron Maund on defense, his performances thus far have left room for doubt about whether or not he is a long-term answer. All of these reasons combined make it unsurprising that RSL has been linked with central midfielder Cristóbal Jorqueda, who is only three days older than Mulholland, and plays the same role in Buraspor’s 4-2-3-1 formation.

Jordan Allen and Omar Holness are both young, promising prospects who are on cap friendly contracts but are now hampered by long-term injuries and have left plenty to be desired in their few appearances with the first team. On top of that, both of them are caught in limbo about where their best position is. They’re very similar in a lot of ways, and it’s hard to determine what their true value is given what we know, but with our focus on the summer window, their current injuries mean they aren’t going anywhere.

Albert Rusnák has been great on all accounts, but behind him on the depth chart and alongside him in the attack are where things get murky. Jefferson Savarino has shown plenty of promise during his short stay in SLC, and at old 20-years-old is another exciting piece moving forward. Part of the RSL-faithful’s frustration with the team comes from their high level of play, something the club hasn’t seen since the Javi Morales days of old (circa 2009-2012).

Opposite of Savarino lies the most mystery, however. Joao Plata hasn’t been the Plata we all remember this season, only having two goals and two assists in the last 15 matches. On top of that, he has looked disinterested and underwhelming most of the season. Both serving as reasons why rumors about a move to Liga MX are no surprise.

Young players Brooks Lennon and Sebastian Saucedo have also stood out with their chances this season, making it more difficult to determine how much Plata is worth to the team. With Lennon being on loan, moving Plata in an effort to secure the Liverpool player long-term would likely be a welcomed idea by the RSL faithful, despite the promise Plata has shown in previous seasons. It’s not what you’ve done for me then, it’s what you’ve done for me lately, sadly. And Plata has had quite the steep dropoff.

Then there’s Sebastian Velasquez. The attacking midfielder is arguably the best player in USSF Division 2 soccer right now, and really Kwadwo Poku from Miami FC in NASL is the only other option (the two were coincidentally teammates who battled for playing time in NYCFC’s first season). Velasquez leads the record-setting Monarchs in assists and is only behind Chandler Hoffman in goals. At 26, he’s been denied by a USSF roster rule from getting time with RSL compared to his teammates, which makes it hard to see if his skills would translate back into MLS play. Jose Hernandez has also done well with RSL behind Rusnák, but maybe letting him pull the strings for the Monarchs for the season while Velazques makes late cameos with RSL would be the best for both of their careers. That change would likely be another for the offseason.

Verdict: Changes are definitely coming, just maybe not a whole bunch in the summer.

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