Real Salt Lake: Sam Johnson completes lovely looking roster

(NORWAY OUT) Norwegian football league Eliteserien soccer 2018 Fotball , Eliteserien 2018 , portrett , portretter , VŒlerengaSam Johnson
(NORWAY OUT) Norwegian football league Eliteserien soccer 2018 Fotball , Eliteserien 2018 , portrett , portretter , VŒlerengaSam Johnson /

Real Salt Lake confirmed the DP signing of striker Sam Johnson on Monday His acquisition rounds out what is looking like a rather lovely roster.

Real Salt Lake snook into the playoffs last season. Although they played some lovely football under Mike Petke with a slew of attacking weapons, it was only a late collapse by LA Galaxy that allowed them to squeeze into the sixth position in the Western Conference.

They actually had a negative goal difference (-3) — goal difference, incidentally, is often a better predictor of how good a team actually is, rather than their points — and conceded 58 goals across the season, more than any playoff team in MLS.

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Noise may have been made by Real Salt Lake in the latter stages of the season and in the playoffs, but a burgeoning roster still needed to be fine-tuned this offseason.

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The primary position of need was centre-forward. Damir Kreilach was playing up front by the end of the year, with he and Albert Rusnak, another midfielder, combining for nearly half of RSL’s goals all season. The midfield options are plentiful and potent, but RSL required a leading striker to tie things all together. And now, it seems as though they have one.

On Monday, the DP signing of Liberian international Sam Johnson was announced. Regarding the signing, Mike Petke had this to say:

"“I am happy to welcome Sam to the RSL family. It will be good to get him integrated with the players and staff and up to speed on how we play. The addition of Sam will provide us with a strong option up front and will certainly create further competition on an already deep roster.”"

The key phrase that stood out to me was this: ‘an already deep roster.’ Petke, I believe, is feeling himself a little. He is confident in the roster that has been assembled and hopeful for the season ahead. And Johnson is seemingly the missing piece.

And Petke is justified to feel confident. A quick scan of the RSL roster does show depth at every level. Solid in the goalkeeping department, deep at centre-half and full-back, creative and threatening in midfield, though perhaps lacking the preferred protection of the defence, and now hopefully abundant in attack, this is a well-rounded team.

The expectation for the season ahead is playoffs. That what it is every year, as it should be. But this Real Salt Lake squad has the potential to be more than just a playoff filler. They can rival the might of Sporting KC and LAFC and the Seattle Sounders in the West.

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If all breaks right, this roster has the chance to be one of the elite rosters in MLS. They just need Johnson to pan out at the striker position. I guess, only time will tell.