2017 Real Salt Lake Review
It was a new era for Real Salt Lake, the Petke era. There were a lot of big expectations but the year started out rough with only 2 wins in 11 games. A reboot was needed, a new identity was needed, and a printer technician was needed… and that’s exactly what they got. They won twice as many games in the second half of the season as they did in the first and were part of an exciting battle for a MLS Cup knockout spot in the West. Ultimately, they fell short, but were left with a group of young seasoned players to build upon going into 2018.
Out: Chris Schuler and Chris Wingert
RSL was a night and day team in 2017 and fortunately the day came at the end of the season. This allowed head coach Mike Petke to focus on positional improvements and depth instead of an entire team overhaul.
On the offensive side, Ortuno helps to expand the attacking potential of RSL and provides options in case of injury. While he looks to have the starting position at this time, fantasy managers will want to keep on rosters as Luis Silva will fight for minutes. RSL’s midfield also gets a boost from Croatian international Kreilach. He’s a box-to-box midfielders who is expected to be just as much of a goal threat as a defensive shield. Finally Pablo Ruiz comes in as a pure depth signing on the wing.
Expected/Predicted Starting XI Picture
Expect RSL to play much as this did at the end of 2017. Rusnak will continue to be the main creator and a great investment for fantasy managers when RSL is at home. Some say he outperformed his numbers last year and question his ability to keep it up, but with Joao Plata, Ortuno and Jefferson Savarino making runs in front of him, and the protection of Kreilach and Kyle Beckerman behind, he should have plenty of opportunities for points.
Real Salt Lake’s defense remains mostly unchanged and brings a lot of quality and experience. Justen Glad continues to be one of the stand out players and when paired with Marcelo Silva, should be expected to generate solid points. Nick Rimando has also proved to be a solid keeper in the past, but but he’s been a bit too expensive for his point production in the past and he’s getting up in years.
RSL looks set to have a great season. They have a dangerous looking core group of attackers and a young playmaker who will only get better as time goes on. There are still some defensive questions, but a lot of work was done to improve that area over the off season so hold off until you see how they player before adding them to your fantasy team. I expect a playoff appearance from this team.
Closing Fantasy Thoughts/Conclusion
Real Salt Like players offer great value and point producing potential at almost every position. If they play with the same intensisty as they did at the close of the 2017 season, fantasy managers will want to consider having 2-3 of their players on their team whenever they are at home.