Salt Lake deal for center back, draft Argentine forward
Real Salt Lake took another step toward rebuilding their depth this offseason with four additional players via the Supplemental Draft on Tuesday.
The team first selected Andy Rose from UCLA with the sixth overall pick of the draft, but they traded his rights to the Seattle Sounders for the rights to defender Leone Cruz. Cruz was last year’s 21st overall pick in the SuperDraft. After being released by the Sounders before the start of the 2011 season, he played in two Reserve League matches with RSL.
The trade filled a need for the Claret-and-Cobalt, according to GM Garth Lagerwey.
“We knew that we needed another center back,” Lagerwey told MLSsoccer.com. “We decided we wanted him more than the other center backs available, and then picked up the phone and called Seattle.”
They followed that pick up with the selection of Argentine forward Emiliano Bonfigli (pictured above) at No. 17, who had most recently plied his trade in Ecuador with Manta FC.
“Bonfigli can play either midfield or forward,” Lagerwey said. “He was an interesting international from the Combine.”
RSL selected 6-foot-3 forward Oliver Kupe out of Northwestern in the second round. Born to parents originally from the Republic of Congo, Kupe was a first team All-Big Ten selection in 2011 after an eight-goal season. Lagerwey described him as a target forward.
The club also grabbed Peruvian holding midfielder Benjamín Ubierra in the third round before they elected to forego their selection in the final round.
“With all three of these guys you are picking them with hopes that they make the team,” Lagerwey said. “They’ll all get a shot, and we’ll figure things out based on how they do.”