With the 2018 MLS season drawing ever closer, we have been running through the standout transfers for all 23 teams over the course of the winter transfer window. There have been a number of key signings and significant trades which should ensure the new season is as exciting as ever before. Today we take a look at Real Salt Lake and their key signings ahead of the 2018 MLS season…
For Real Salt Lake, the aim will be starting the 2018 season how they finished the last. Yes, they missed out on the playoffs and yes, defensively they were poor. But Mike Petke got the team playing well over the final months of the season, winning eight of their last 15 games. They finished eighth in the West and missed out on the playoffs on the final day, despite winning. Petke has had the winter to reform the squad ahead of his first full season in charge, so expect them to be a strong outfit in 2018…
Pablo Ruiz: RSL will hope 19-year-old central midfielder Pablo Ruiz can settle quickly and become a key member of the team this season. He joins as a Discovery Signing from Chilean club San Luis, where he made 10 league appearances last season. He represented the Argentina U17’s at the 2015 U17 World Cup but is now poised to represent Chile, if he receives a senior call-up. One to keep an eye on.
Adam Henley: Real Salt Lake’s new regular right-back is set to be Welsh-American defender Henley. He joined the club as a free agent this winter, after leaving Blackburn Rovers at the end of last season. He’s still only 23 but will be hoping to reignite his career in MLS. He was born in Tennessee but moved to England aged two, before rising through the Blackburn academy and into the first team. He has two senior Wales caps to his name and is a player who should make a real impact, if he can recapture his form quickly.
Welcome to the family, Adam!
— Real Salt Lake (@RealSaltLake) January 9, 2018
Damir Kreilach: RSL made the move to sign Kreilach from second-tier German side Union Berlin for an undisclosed transfer fee. The 28-year-old midfielder has always wanted to play in the United States and will now be hoping to impress in Major League Soccer. He spent the past five seasons with Union Berlin, scoring 33 goals in 157 appearances for the club.
Brooks Lennon: Lennon isn’t exactly a new signing, given he spent last season with RSL. But his loan move from Liverpool was turned into a permanent transfer this winter, which is a huge boost for the Claret and Cobalt. The 20-year-old attacker played 25 games last season, scoring three goals and picking up four assists. He is one of many youngsters ready to try and lead RSL to success this season and beyond.
Brooks is back!
— Real Salt Lake (@RealSaltLake) December 20, 2017
Chris Wingert: After having his option declined at the end of last season, Wingert has decided to call time on a 14-year MLS career. The American full-back played 23 games for RSL last season but has decided now is the right time to retire. He represented Columbus, Colorado and NYCFC but will be mainly remembered for his time with RSL. He played a total of 10 seasons with the Claret and Cobalt, winning the 2009 MLS Cup.
— Real Salt Lake (@RealSaltLake) February 19, 2018
Chris Schuler: Another long-time RSL defender to have his option declined was Schuler. The 30-year-old centre-back has been plagued with injuries, halting him for finding any real consistency. He is a talented defender who has unfortunately had opportunities taken away from him. Schuler had been with RSL since 2010 but played just 21 games over the past three seasons.
Omar Holness: 2016 first-round draft pick Holness departs RSL after two seasons in which he failed to nail down a regular starting berth. The midfielder was seen by many as the long-term replacement for Kyle Beckerman in the RSL midfield but started just six games in two seasons. Last season was supposed to be his year but he was rocked when he suffered a torn ACL in July, that would leave him out for 8-12 months. He is still recovering from surgery but has been signed by USL side Bethlehem Steel FC, the affiliate of the Philadelphia Union.