Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium was Real Salt Lake Media Day, a chance to kick off the 2013 season with interviews and a time to catch up with players, staff, and fellow media members. The day had a special feel as two of the biggest questions of the off had answers, even if one was perhaps only a partial answer.
As 2012 came to a close RSL was forced with clearing a huge amount of cap room, this meant some big trades, some releases and other moves. After the dust settled RSL was left with just one forward on the roster, Alvaro Saborio, former MLS All-Stars Will Johnson and Jamison Olave were gone, and Fabian Espindola had a new team to play for as well as a new hair cut. Then there was the Javier Morales question, the midfielder was out of contract and offers were coming in from various places around the globe for his talents.
Last week was the MLS draft, but for RSL the biggest news came before the draft as two huge announcements were made. First up was that RSL had obtained the rights to and re-signed Robbie Findley, the teams #3 all time goal scorer. After a couple of less than stellar years in Euorpe, Robbie is back in MLS and back playing for the Claret and Cobalt. In talking with Robbie he seems very happy to be back, and excited about what the upcoming season could hold for him. Here is the interview he did with the local media on Saturday:
I apologize that the audio on this is very weak so you will need to turn your speakers or headphones up.
I think Robbie Findley will have an outstanding year for RSL, he appears fit, hungry and motivated.
More after the break
When for 5 seasons your main playmaker has been one guy, the thoughts of losing him on top of so many other players can be frighting for coaches and fans. So when the days turned to weeks, turned to months without an announcement on Javier Morales, well people (including myself) got nervous. Without Javier, RSL would have to make a major shift to some talented but unproven younger players, or make a major signing. With Javier, you get a player who has shown that he has a level of skill that is rare in MLS, and the ability to change matches with a single play.
I think fans were a lot like me, the longer this went the more we thought that Javier might have just taken one of those offers from Mexico or Spain, but in the end the decision was made long before any of us were told. The announcement was held up due to MLS HQ basically being closed for a couple weeks due to the holidays (I am sure the NFL, MLB, and other leagues shut down their complete operations for multiple weeks all the time). In the end the things that we thought would be the difference makers, the potential impact of a move on his family, the familiarity and relationships that Javier has formed with RSL and the community, were more important that a bit more money. Here is the video from Javier’s media session:
It was very interesting to hear Jason talk about both Javier and Robbie as players with something to prove this season, and both players agreed with.
I am excited about the return of both of these guys, as Javier said “the last time he and Robbie played together, he had 15 assists”, that is something I think both of them would love to repeat.
More from Media Day coming soon.
That’s How I See It