Archive | March 5, 2012

Hopes for Schuler are high

Way back in the 2010 MLS Superdraft, Real Salt Lake made what seemed to be some great pickups.  There was Collen Warner, Jean Alexandre, Rawshawn McKenzie, and Chris Schuler.  RSL decided to sign all four of their selections.

Warner, Alexandre, and McKenzie all saw decent minutes for an RSL rookie.  All three came in as subs at various points of the season.  Both Warner and McKenzie made considerable contributions in the CCL group stage.  McKenzie started in the away match against Cruz Azul that is still remembered as the Flood that Real eventually lost 4-5 in a very dramatic finale.  Warner started and scored in the return fixture against Cruz Azul at Rio Tinto Stadium.  Collen and Rawshawn along with Jean Alexandre seemed to be very promising young prospects for Real Salt Lake, but Chris Schuler was rather unheard of.

Chris finally debuted for the senior squad in an away match at the then-called XBOX Pitch: home of the Seattle Sounders.  The St. Louis native started and played a full ninety minutes, registering a shutout against one of the best attacking teams in the league.  This showed the true Chris Schuler that the fans had never known.  Soon after, however, Chris broke his leg in a training session, dooming his hopes of playing for the rest of the season.  Schuler began to attain substantial minutes during the 2011 season after healing from his devastating injury.  He filled in well when either Borchers or Olave was unavailable.

At the conclusion of the 2010 season that saw RSL knocked out of the MLS Cup Playoffs in the first round, RSL let McKenzie go.  And then after the 2011 season, Real also parted ways with Collen Warner and Jean Alexandre.  Chris Schuler was the last player remaining of the Real Salt Lake’s 2010 Superdraft batch.

During this preseason Chris Schuler has been incredible.  He has featured in all of RSL’s matches in the Desert Diamond Cup and has shut strikers down using his size to his advantage.  Captain Kyle Beckerman has even said that he expects Schuler to be a starter this year.  And Jason Kries has even gone as far as saying that Chris should be in the USMNT conversation soon.  Now, whether or not Chris starts over a healthy Olave or Borchers is still a question.  The same can be said about him playing for the United States National Team.  But then again, the RSL coaching staff has always been big on not putting big expectations on young and new players.  So to come out and make those claims is really saying something.

With all of this talk, it seems that Chris Schuler has a lot to prove this season.  The expectations will be high.  Let’s hope he can live up to them!

If you believe then just stand up on your feet,

and shout it loud, Real!

Here at the RioT, the battle hymn’s begun,

We’re here for RSL!