Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Thoughts from Garth Lagerwey: Part I – Current Squad

This is the first segment of a 5-part series with thoughts from Real Salt Lake General Manager Garth Lagerwey.

I wanted to get his thoughts on the following topics:

            • the current squad
            • offseason needs
            • the upcoming draft
            • the RSL youth program
            • some of the consequences of the current CBA negotiations.

Here is part 1:

At this time of year, each team in the league has to start with an evaluation of its roster, before they can decide on what changes or additions to make. It was obvious that RSL plans to retain a large part of its roster, with exceptions of the already known departures of Yura Movsisyan and Chris Seitz.

According to Lagerwey, the first step taken in this process is to exercise contract options for players that they would like to retain. This has already occurred,

“We have retained options on anyone that we want to re-sign long term. There is nobody that we are in danger of losing for next season.”

Lagerwey also mentioned on a couple of occasions that attempts were being made to sign players to long-term contracts. We already know of the following players being locked up long-term:

The team has been reportedly in negotiations with both Captain Kyle Beckerman and emerging forward Robbie Findley to lock them up to long-term contracts. The results of these negotiations may pave the way for the way the team looks going forward,

“The way we are going to assess our team is by who has signed with us long-term and who doesn’t.”

Obviously Real Salt Lake is happy with the starters on the team. After all, they did just win the MLS Cup. However, I was interested in three reserve players who joined the team midway through the season:

Pablo Campos: “Two game winning goals, and two assists in five starts. We would not have made the playoffs without Pablo Campos. He was the fourth forward – so good news there – the other guys were playing so well that the fourth one didn’t have a bigger role. We have Fabian and Robbie coming back, and Pablo is going to be battling with them for time. And we pick up Abe Thompson, so we feel like we have a good group. And Pablo’s going to be in the mix. He’s got plenty of talent. It’s a question of getting the opportunity and being able to take advantage of the opportunity.”

Rachid El Khalifi: “He’s a little bit of an older player, and may want to play a larger role were he to come back. So I know that he’s exploring all of his options right now. He’s under contract, but with foreign guys we try not to be jerks about it. If they say they want to start somewhere, and want to leave - we try to accommodate them. Those guys may choose to go back home, and get more time at home rather than staying with us and being on the bench. And that’s the decision that Rachid’s making right now.”

Nelson Gonzalez: “Another young kid that just didn’t get a ton of minutes. Nelson has plenty of talent. He’s capable of getting in the mix, and capable of potentially earning a starting spot in preseason.”

I also confirmed with Garth that Alex Nimo did not lose his Generation Adidas status as was reported just prior to the Philadelphia Union expansion draft a few weeks ago.

Look for the second segment with Garth on the offseason needs coming up soon!