RSL notebook: Trades, hirings and plenty more newsworthiness
Sandy • The newsiest news week of Real Salt Lake's 2014 season hasn't slowed down. Not in the slightest. Here is my best attempt at a bulleted-list recap of what has transpired since last Monday morning:
• Assistant coach Paul Dalglish returns to Austin.
• Captain Kyle Beckerman misses the MLS All-Star Game.
• Nick Rimando starts the All-Star Game.
• The Sebastian #JaimeWatch begins.
• The Sebastian#JaimeWatch ends.
• Nick Rimando breaks the all-time MLS shutout record.
• Three goals in first half in 3-0 win over D.C. United.
• RSL trades Kwame Watson-Siriboe.
• Chris Schuler named MLS Player of the Week
• Friendly between U.S. women's national team and Mexico at Rio Tinto is announced.
• The hiring of new assistant coach Ted Eck no, not Ted Lasso Â is announced.
• Then there is Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente.
Ted Eck, not to be confused with Ted Lasso Â» Let's start with the most recent. Ted Eck joins RSL as the club's new assistant coach slated to be in charge of the forwards. The 48-year-old joins RSL after spending the last three years with the L.A. Galaxy Academy program, coaching at the youth levels. Eck spent 14 years as a professional soccer player, including six seasons in Major League Soccer. He played alongside RSL general manager Garth Lagerwey, coach Jeff Cassar and former RSL coach Jason Kreis with the Dallas Burn.
Eck is familiar with Utah. He was the coach of former USL Premier Development League club Ogden Outlaws in 2009 before becoming the director of Firebirds FC, a Salt Lake City-based youth club.
"He's been a teammate of mine and a friend of mine for a long time," Cassar said Monday. "He's a fantastic person. I think he's somebody who our forwards are going to gravitate to; not just our forwards, but our whole team. He's very open and I'm excited for him to start building his relationship with the players."
Cassar said Eck was originally a candidate when he was piecing together his coaching staff in December and January and when Dalglish left to return to the USL club Austin Aztex, Eck was his guy.
"It's a great fit," Cassar said.
Clearing way for Jaime Â» RSL traded defender Kwame Watson-Siriboe to MLS expansion side New York City FC Monday morning in exchange for a 2016 fourth-round pick. The move was predicated on needing to clear room for incoming Designated Player Sebastian Jaime from Chile. Watson-Siriboe tore his ACL in June 2013 after playing in 19 matches for RSL during his two-year tenure with the club and didn't see first-team time since.
The 27-year-old Watson-Siriboe joins Kreis and the increasing number of players NYCFC has in preparation for its league start in 2015.
"I think NYCFC is going to be a logical place for any player that we release or trade in the next three years because Jason and I both picked all of our players," Lagerwey told the Tribune Monday. "Guess who likes all of our players?"
Schuler named MLS Player of the Week Â» When RSL's imposing 6-foot-4 center back was notified he'd been named MLS Player of the Week after his two-goal outing against D.C. United, Chris Schuler pumped his first and jokingly let out a "**** yeah!" after training Monday. This is Schuler's first ever MLS Player of the Week honors and RSL's fourth of 2014. Schuler's two goals in the 3-o win over D.C. Saturday wereÂ his first of the 2014 season and defensively he aided in Rimando's record-setting night with the club's second-consecutive shutout.
They stepped up, they made a move' Â» Eight months ago while in Casa Grande, Ariz., Nat Borchers told me that 2014 would be a year in which clubs would be making plenty of midseason moves. The center back's prescient thoughts extended toward his own club as he said if the situation called for it, he'd like to see RSL make a move in order to keep pace with the rest of MLS. The club did so in signing 27-year-old Argentinian forward Sebastian Jaime from Chilean club Union Espanola last Friday.
"They stepped up, they made a move," Borchers said Monday. "It's great to see in the league that teams are feeling pressure to make moves midseason to kind of bolster their squads for the final stretch and I think we're doing that and I think that's a really positive move for us."
Cassar said Monday he hopes Jaime will be in sometime later next week, but the official arrival remains unsettled as the new forward's P-1 Visa must be approved by the U.S. government. The seven-figure signing, Cassar said, is "an awesome statement from our ownership all the way down that we're committed. I told the guys he's another piece to the puzzle that we all want to get back to, which is the MLS Cup and the playoffs."
I asked Cassar to describe Jaime's style as a forward: "His work rate doesn't stop. He's very persistent, when he does have the ball, he does have very good technical ability. He's not just a one-trick pony. He does have it all."
He also made it a point to say Jaime's size is not 5-foot-9 3/4 as some reports have indicated, in fact Cassar said his new DP is about "5-foot-11, almost 6-foot."
Jaime's versatility stood out to Cassar when he saw him play in Chile in July. He can play out wide in a 4-3-3 formation or up top in a 4-4-2 formation as a No. 9 striker. That versatility, Cassar said, will give RSL more chances to tinker with future and/or different formations of attack in the future.
Next up: Xoloitzcuintles Â» Asked Cassar who won't be playing Tuesday night against Xolos. RSL's coach said Javier Morales and Ned Grabavoy won't play, while Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando, Nat Borchers and Chris Schuler will dress, but likely won't play.
In fact, most everyone except Morales and Grabavoy will have soccer boots on.
"Everyone's going to dress except the guys who have really been logging a crazy amount of minutes and then we're going to be mindful of the ones who are dressing," he said.
Cassar said Morales' hip is "feeling much better" Monday than it was Saturday evening. The 34-year-old midfielder won't play against Tijuana. Asked if Morales would be available for Seattle this Saturday afternoon, Cassar said: "I hope so. We have to see how he progresses in the next few days, but from Saturday to today, much better. I'd be really surprised if he sits out this game."
Also asked for an update on other injured players. Cassar said Rich Balchan is about 10 days to two weeks away from being back on the field after dealing with a lingering adductor injury for months now. Alvaro Saborio's target date to be out of the boot and hit the ground running literally Â is Aug. 25. Cassar said Saborio has been doing underwater rehab at the pool at the U.S. Ski Team's Center of Excellence in Park City.
That's all for today. It was a lot. Maybe this week will slow down. Maybe not.