Real Salt Lake notes: Brooks Lennon to make long-awaited debut in start vs. L.A.

First Published      Last Updated Mar 18 2017 10:32 pm

RSL notes » Forward/midfielder is on loan from Liverpool.

Sandy • Brooks Lennon found himself in his old house, in his old room, packing his things last week in Arizona. This move — an hour-or-so plane ride north to Utah — was different from the one he made in the summer of 2015.

Then 17, Lennon, a scoring phenom out of Real Salt Lake's Arizona-based academy, signed with Liverpool FC. After a year and a half in the Liverpool youth system, Lennon is back with RSL on loan for the 2017 season. After rummaging through what he wanted to bring with him, Lennon said he's happy to finally settle down in Utah.

"It was a little weird," he said, "but this is a new adventure for me and a new journey and I'm excited. I'm excited to get ready, get in the games and start to show the league what I can do."

The 19-year-old forward/midfielder got his shot Saturday night against the L.A. Galaxy. Lennon's first appearance in an RSL uniform came as part of the starting lineup. The only time Lennon had ever played in Rio Tinto Stadium before was during his time as an academy player years ago.

Against the Galaxy, Lennon was deployed as a right-sided forward, where he recently impressed with the U.S. U-20 national team, scoring four goals in the 2017 CONCACAF Championship in Costa Rica. The Americans not only qualified for this summer's U-20 World Cup in South Korea, but won the tournament.

"It's always nice coming back from a national-team camp because you're always sharp," Lennon said. "I felt really comfortable coming into the squad and everyone welcomed me really well. I'm happy to be back in Utah."

Lennon said he's close with fellow academy alum Sebastian Saucedo of Park City. As odds would have it, Saucedo earned his second career start against L.A. Saturday night. RSL fans clamoring for the team's youth to get a shot could smile.

"I want them to play with emotion," RSL coach Jeff Cassar said. "For a young player, that's going to be an exciting part of their game, so they just need to play with energy, play with confidence and there's going to be mistakes. Nothing's going to be perfect. If their reactions are good, we'll be just fine."

More changes

Luke Mulholland moved into the RSL starting lineup for the first time in 2017, replacing Sunday Stephen in the midfield. Rookie Justin Schmidt started his second straight game at center back. David Horst (knee) was not included in the RSL game-day roster. Chris Schuler, who missed the 2-0 loss at Chicago last weekend, returned to the starting lineup next to Schmidt in central defense. Left back Demar Phillips returned from a hamstring injury to make his first start of the season.


Twitter: @chriskamrani