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Examining RSL's depth chart

What does RSL need in 2023? Let's go position-by-position and figure it out.

Rubio Rubin raising his hand in a line of players during a free kick.
Lucas Muller | Wasatch Soccer Sentinel

I've written recently about RSL's roster intentions and roster depth, and with a few recent moves, I think we're at a point where we can start breaking down this team, position by position.

Last time around (I broke the team down by squad status)[https://www.wasatch.soccer/post/2023-01-05/3/rsl-roster-depth] — if they're generally starters or rotation options, that sort of thing. But I think we're now in a position where we can talk fluently about the roster from a positional perspective, and with the season starting in three weeks (and one day), I think it's important that we can start thinking about this roster deeply.

There are of course some unknowns — RSL general manager Elliot Fall described a desire to sign a defender and an attacking player. We will note that in the appropriate positions. We also have multiple draft pick options that have not been resolved; I'll not those where appropriate as well.

Goalkeeper

  • Starter: Zac MacMath — There's no doubt that MacMath is the starting goalkeeper. No question mark here.
  • Backup: Tomas Gomez — Another year of being a backup goalkeeper, no doubt. Goalkeeper's an interesting position, because we typically are in a position of hoping that we don't see the backup regularly. Maybe that changes with Leagues Cup? We'll have to find out, I guess.
  • Reserve: Gavin Beavers — He's got great potential, they say. He's also pretty young. I suspect he'll continue playing with Real Monarchs for at least this year, if not one or two beyond that.

Center back

  • Starter: Justen Glad — Unquestionably, Glad is a starter. He's key to RSL's potential successes.
  • Starter: Marcelo Silva — After a very good year, Silva has a lot to prove — like that he can continue playing nearly nearly every match. If RSL signs a defender, what does that mean for Silva? Will RSL sign a center back? Full back? I have more questions than there are answers.
  • Rotation: Erik Holt — I guess Holt's our third-choice center back option. RSL might still sign another player that pushes Holt down in the pecking order. That'll be interesting to see.
  • Backup: Zack Farnsworth — I honestly have no clue about Farnsworth. I hear he's good. I haven't seen much of him play.
  • Backup: Delentz Pierre — I suspect Pierre's largely a Real Monarchs player this year, but as a 22-year-old center back, might he come in handy? Can he play out wide?

Right back

  • Starter: Andrew Brody — With Aaron Herrera gone, Brody is the starter at right back. I'll be honest, though: I like Brody more on the left. The inverted wing back thing is an interesting look for him, especially with his dribbling abilities.
  • Backup: Bode Hidalgo — It sure looks like Hidalgo is our backup option. I'll be very curious to see how he does there, because I haven't seen quite enough of him.

Left back

  • Starter: Bryan Oviedo — He's absolutely starting caliber when he's fit, but is Oviedo going to be able to maintain fitness through the season? There's a huge question mark there for me, largely because he hasn't played more than 1,000 minutes in five years, and that was in England's third division.
  • Potential backup: Moses Mensah — The 2023 draft pick is continuing in preseason to the Arizona leg, and I'm curious to see if he signs.
  • Reserve: Luis Rivera — He's 15. He's not a first-team player, but he's on the first-team roster. I get it, but don't expect him to play.

Defensive midfield

  • Starter: Braian Ojeda — This kid's pretty good. Is he starting caliber? Early signs pointed to yes. But he's on loan, and if RSL isn't able to seal him on a permanent deal — or even a loan extension — will it be worth investing in him as a starter?
  • Starter: Pablo Ruiz — I like Ruiz a lot. Is he the absolute answer? Would he be better further forward than with a more defensive role? He's a starter for me, but is he starting in the right position?
  • Rotation: Scott Caldwell — If RSL is looking for a more defensively focused midfielder, or if they're looking to play with a fully defensive midfielder with two further forward, Caldwell's got a starting spot.
  • Rotation: Jasper Löffelsend — We all love Jasper, but I think it's clear that he's not a guaranteed starter on this team right now.
  • Potential rotation: Moses Nyeman — the young midfielder is still in camp with RSL, and I wouldn't be shocked if a loan is finalized for him. It's an interesting story, his move to SK Beveren from D.C. United, then a potential move back to MLS.

Attacking midfield

  • Starter: Damir Kreilach — He's a top, top player, but he's also coming off a season-ending injury and surgery for a nerve issue in his back. He's the starter now, but RSL should be as cautious as realistically possible with Kreilach.
  • Rotation: Diego Luna — I'm a big fan of Luna, and I'd like that to be based on his play for RSL and not just his potential and play with U.S. youth sides. There is zero chance Damir Kreilach can play the full season without rotation, if just because it would be a terrible idea.
  • Potential backup: Emeka Eneli — He might actually be more of an attacking midfielder; I'm not really sure. Anyway, he's still in preseason, so I wouldn't be shocked if he signs.
  • Reserve: Julio Benitez — He's 17, and I think he should probably be playing quite a bit with Real Monarchs. He'll be 18 this summer.
  • Reserve: Jude Wellings — As above, but he's 16.

Winger

  • Starter: Jefferson Savarino — No question here. Savarino's pure class.
  • Starter: Carlos Andres Gomez — I'm assuming he'll be a starting player, but is that how things will shake out? This could be a very interesting one.
  • Rotation: Justin Meram — RSL ran Meram ragged in 2022. That can't happen again — he's 34.
  • Rotation: Maikel Chang — I suspect Chang's role remains largely the same as 2022, where he was a pretty impactful player. Can he do it again this year?
  • Backup: Bertin Jacquesson — I suspect he'll largely play with the Monarchs, but I wouldn't be shocked to see him make the bench for RSL at least a few times. From there, who knows what happens. It's sort of up to him.

Forward

  • Starter: Rubio Rubin — Until RSL signs a player, Rubin is our starter. I'm optimistic having seen him in a bit of preseason, but is he destined to be our starter? That's sort of contingent on our signing another player.
  • Rotation: Anderson Julio — I'll be curious what happens with Julio if we sign another forward. Will he be in line for rotational starting minutes? Is he bound to be a substitute?
  • Rotation?: Danny Musovski — I honestly have no idea what happens with Musovski. If RSL is looking to sign a forward, does that mean he's on his way out? Is he going to play out wide? Will he play at all?
  • Backup: Ilijah Paul — I'm excited to see Paul in RSL's lineup at some point. How does he fit with the rotation options of Julio and Musovski?
  • Reserve: Axel Kei — I mean, he's 15. I wouldn't be surprised if he makes his competitive debut for RSL this year, but I don't expect him to play anything beyond a Real Monarchs role.

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