What could go wrong and how we might be able to avoid it
The 2012 season could be very critical for Real Salt Lake. We haven’t endured through so many offseason changes in several years. We saw a good chunk of our depth waived or traded away and a few starters like Andy Williams and Robbie Russel leave the team. (Andy retired and is now a scout for RSL) We also saw Real bring in more trialists and Superdraft selections than ever before.
RSL has managed to bring in many young or inexperienced players into the scene without denting the starting lineup. It seems incredible that with all the roster movement Real has been through that we’ll most likely seeing the same starting lineup as last year for most of the season. That could change, however, due to injuries. That leads us to our next topic.
Injuries and absences were a MAJOR problem for Real Salt Lake last year. Almost every article last season mentioned the “diversity” that RSL went through to the point that it got quite annoying for an avid RSL follower. I’m not say it wasn’t true, it’s just that it got to the point that it almost seemed like an excuse. It’s true that Real struggled to find points for big stretches and struggled with inconsistency, but Real did put good games together even with a thrown together lineup. It was frustrating as a fan to watch. My point is that RSL need to avoid a repeat of an injury filled season. First priority should simply be to stay fit and stay injury-free, but let’s face it, Javi had absolutely nothing to do with being brutally tackled in the Chivas USA game. You can’t plan ahead to avoid having your ankle broken like that.
But you never know. All these new acquisitions have looked good for stretches in this preseason. Maybe if we do end up face to face with long-term absences, the new guys will be able to step in well. Jason Kries has already gone ahead and stated that Y. Alvarez is a perfect fill-in for when our captain Kyle Beckerman is unavailable. This could happen frequently this season as Kyle is spending more and more time with the US National Team. Also, guys like Schuler, Paulo, and Arnoux that haven’t played very consistently is seasons past are going to be expected to really step in for the first team this year.