tBG: Real Salt Lake has had a rough past few months, losing the MLS Cup Final to Sporting Kansas City and then losing manager Jason Kreis to New York City FC. What has new manager Jeff Cassar done to help stabilize the club?
RSLSb: It was a rough end to the season without a doubt. Cassar has provided continuity to assuage the rough patch that Real Salt Lake fans experienced, and that has been the key. By not changing the style of play, Cassar has solidified the RSL system and shown that this philosophy of a team-first, "play the right way" mentality is here to stay. Cassar has of course put his own touches on the tactics and has a large say in who to keep with the club and who to bring in, but RSL's identity is healthy and looks to be here for the long term thanks to Cassar wanting to stay the course. In fact, when he was hired part of his argument was "Why would you hire anybody else?" He had been with Kreis for years and understood the club as well as anyone.
tBG: In my opinion, RSL is the model MLS franchise. Smart spending, smart drafting, and a great youth system. Is there an aspect of the club that may be a bit suspect or needs improvement?
RSLSb: I will be the first and last to advocate for and defend RSL's philosophy that you outline above. The one aspect of the club that needs improvement is winning the big game. RSL has had a few opportunities to win trophies over the past few years but for some reason can't come up with the big plays or somehow lets in an untimely goal. Nobody remembers the second place team. RSL needs to solidify its legacy and come up big when it counts.
tBG: Real Salt Lake is a team with lots of depth. Is there player who people who don't follow the club should keep an eye on - either now or in the near future?
RSLSb: There are a handful of players that look to have a very bright future. If I were to pick three, I would say that Luis Gil, Jordan Allen, and Chris Schuler. All of them have the skill set or are developing the tools to be national team regulars. Gil entered the league when was a mere teenager of 16 years and has only gotten better every year. The club speaks very highly of Allen and what he can become with an ability to play anywhere on the field. And Schuler has the physical abilities to be a fantastic defender if he can stay healthy. When he is healthy, he is amazingly effective.
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