Commentary: Big moves unlikely as RSL round out roster

Packed roster, salary constraints have RSL looking at Home Growns

Anyone expecting significant offseason acquisitions by Real Salt Lake this year will likely be disappointed.

Though the signing of Arturo Alvarez in an Expansion Draft trade with the Portland Timbers provided some new blood, there is not likely to be much in the way of splashy foreign acquisitions thanks to a full senior roster and salary budget restraints.

Foreign acquisitions have taken precedence in the past, especially since the appointments of head coach Jason Kreis and general manager Garth Lagerwey during the 2007 season. Prior to the 2008 season, Matias Cordoba, Nat Borchers, Kenny Deuchar and Jamison Olave were acquired, all with much fanfare. A year later, Luis Miguel Escalada was the big acquisition, and last year Alvaro Saborio joined the club.

Half of these additions have proved successful – a pretty good batting average, especially with international players in the mix.

Here is where the roster currently stands following the loss of David Horst and Robbie Findley in the Expansion Draft, the waiving of Alex Nimo and the acquisition of Alvarez:

Of the 24 available senior roster spots, the team currently has 23 players in the mix. One of these is Paulo Jr., who came on a short-term loan agreement late in the year that expired at the season’s end. Team officials said they are working on a deal to keep the young Brazilian striker for the 2011 season, and they hope to have something worked out in the next few weeks.

Assuming that Paulo Jr. is back next year and no other moves are made, RSL potentially have one open senior roster spot, and it's likely they'll use that on a first round pick in the SuperDraft. Paulo Jr.'s retention, along with the Alvarez acquisition, are the possible attacking options to replace the loss of Findley.

[inline_node:324207]Speaking of the SuperDraft (the team has three late-round picks to go with their first rounder), that’s one place where RSL may find additional roster fills, should they select Generation adidas players. RSL have five developmental spots available, with Luis Gil taking up the sixth as a Generation adidas player.

So how else do RSL fill out their roster? Well, the team passed on Stage 1 of the Re-Entry Draft, and probably won't select anyone in Stage 2. Senior roster spots are just too valuable to RSL right now.

But the emerging mechanism for filling out a developmental roster is through the academy program. The team is holding both an open combine and invite-only combine in Casa Grande, Ariz., which is home of their residential academy program. Lagerwey has indicated that the signing of a Home Grown player or two is likely to happen during this offseason. He has also indicated that the team will not necessarily fill out all 30 spots.

There is, of course, always the possibility of a trade to open up a roster spot and salary budget space. There may also be a few trialists in camp during the preseason, and if they impress the team may find a way to fit them in. Players could also be sent out on loan, giving the team additional flexibility for new additions.

Ready to launch: MLS Matchday 2010, The new official MLS iPhone app. It's FREE! Download it here!