Pablo Mastroeni ‘Confident’ New Striker Signing Imminent
SALT LAKE CITY – Real Salt Lake manager Pablo Mastroeni is “confident” that the club will bring in another striker before the Secondary Transfer Window closes at 10 p.m. on Thursday, August 4.
“Definitely a position that we are looking at, yea, we have targeted a couple [of players] but closing deals isn’t always the easiest thing to make happen, there are a lot of moving parts, the one thing about the soccer window compared to others is that you are competing against every team in the world,” Mastroeni said when asked if the club is still interested in signing another striker. “But the front office has done a good job of providing good options and now it is about closing the deal and I feel confident that we will be able to get that done,” he added.
Real Salt Lake Current Strikepower
Currently, Real Salt Lake has three options on its roster. Sergio Córdova, Bobby Wood, and Rubio Rubin are the three strikers on the roster. However, Jefferson Savarino and Anderson Julio have both played up top at times throughout the season as well.
Wood is still recovering from an injured abductor that required surgery, and is expected to make a return in a month. However, Wood has been dealing with multiple injuries since his arrival in Utah in 2021 and is not a reliable player given his age and injury history.
Rubin has been out of form and has not seen many minutes in 2022, despite playing a key role throughout the 2021 campaign. Thus far, Rubin has only appeared in 14 games and has only started on 4 occasions. He is yet to score in 2022.
Córdova has seen the most minutes out of any striker this season but is struggling to find consistency in scoring. In the 1546 minutes played he has only scored 4 goals, that is a goal every 385.5 minutes, or a conversion rate of 10.3%. In comparison, the leagues leading goalscorer Sebastián Driussi is scoring every 142.1 minutes and is converting his opportunities 28.6% of the time.
— Real Salt Lake (@realsaltlake) August 1, 2022
Savarino has played alongside Córdova in the previous two fixtures but recently admitted that he is playing a role for the team given the issues the club is facing upfront. His preferred position is on the right flank and not in a central role.
It remains unknown who Real Salt Lake is targeting to bring in, regardless, if RSL is serious about contending for an MLS Cup they must bring in attacking firepower to help aid their ambition of hoisting silverware in 2022.
Help In The Heart Of The Park
Another position that is in need of help is the heart of the pitch. A defensive-minded midfielder would go a long way for Real Salt Lake to solidify much-needed points down the final stretch of the regular season. Both Pablo Ruiz and Jasper Löffelsend have been the two consistent midfielders under Mastroeni’s guidance in 2022, but both prefer to play in more of an attacking role.
Scott Caldwell and Nick Besler have also played roles, but both Caldwell and Besler are struggling to find playing time and are therefore not the answer.
Historically, Real Salt Lake has not splashed money in a similar fashion to other MLS clubs. The largest transfer in the club’s history is Jefferson Savarino when he returned for a second stint. It was reported that he cost Real Salt Lake somewhere around the $2 million range.
Cucho Hernandez was acquired by Colombus Crew for $10 million in July and Thiago Almada was recently signed by Atlanta United for $16 million.
It would be highly unlikely that Real Salt Lake spends anything remotely close to the numbers above, but a record signing in the $3-5 million dollar range would likely go a long way in bringing the MLS Cup back to Salt Lake City.
Real Salt Lake will return to Utah and prepare to host LAFC next Saturday with kickoff scheduled for 8 p.m. on August 6.
Gareth Bale will play for the first time in his professional career in Utah after recently joining LAFC.
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