Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Where have all the strikers gone?

While taking a peek at my facebook account - hey, at least I admit it - the other night the chat window popped up with a friend asking if I was worried about this season's Real Salt Lake squad. During the conversation I was pretty pessimistic.

The more RSL fans that I talk to the more I discover that I'm not the only one who enjoyed watching Kenny Deuchar suck defenders toward him while he brought down lofted balls with ease. Deuchar usually had the attention of defenders so that others could sneak through to score. But, the glaring lack of his game while in Salt Lake was his goal production. So, I can understand why he would be let go.

Thinking of the loss of Deuchar made me wonder exactly how the latest exodus of players from RSL would really affect the upcoming season. To help in my thinking I pulled together some extremely basic stats.

In the table below you will find a list of all the players used during RSL's playoff run in 2008. With each player is listed their number of playoff appearances and starts during that time. And, since we're essentially only looking at offensive players for this conversation I only listed the most obvious offensive statistics - goals and assists. The colors indicate who has left RSL (Red) and who has trained with foreign clubs this off-season (Yellow), thus implying that they could leave.

Playoff Stats from Last Year:

Something I noticed right away was the relationship between players who appeared in all three playoff games and those who did not. Out of all the players interacting with other clubs Findley is the only one who appeared in all three playoff games. None of the players who have left appeared in all the playoff matches for RSL in 2008. And with the exception of Kovalenko, none of the outgoing forwards produced any statistical output as far as goals are concerned.

This illustration has helped quell many of my initial lineup concerns for the coming season. The remaining doubts I have will be brought up in future posts leading up to the start of the 2009 season. The take away message is that to panic about the roster as it looks now is like panicking about a remodel job before it's complete.

So, that's my take. What do you think?


New Look

I thought it was high time to actually make this actually look like a soccer blog. This is my first attempt at skinning a blogger blog, so any all feedback is more than welcome!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Best move of RSL off-season: Kreis extends contract

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. And, in the case of last season's team, try not to change very much.

Real Salt Lake took a giant step in assuring they will build upon the successes of 2008 by making their best move of this off-season on Wednesday. On SuperDraft Eve, RSL announced the extension of Jason Kreis' for another three seasons.

“It is imperative that the competitive side of our organization maintain continuity and build off of last season’s success,” said RSL President Bill Manning in a press release issued late Wednesday.

The move is not a surprising one, looking at last season's epic run that saw Salt Lake excel through the playoffs for the first time in history, flying all the way to the Western Conference Final. Kreis made the product on the field respectable, and fun to watch.

Whether you like Kreis' methods or not, you can not deny that he has been the driving force behind the change of this team. We'll see what he comes up with on SuperDraft Day as there are still a few areas that could use some adjusting. But, now that Kreis is secured for a few seasons, that is one less thing RSL will need to worry about.

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