As summer transfer window arrives, Real Salt Lake explores options to reshape roster to Petke’s liking

First Published      Last Updated Jul 25 2017 03:14 pm

Real Salt Lake » MLS summer transfer period gives coach Petke a chance to put mark on roster.

They call it the war room.

The walls of the conference room attached to Real Salt Lake general manager Craig Waibel's office are covered with whiteboards displaying RSL's lineups, roster, salary cap information, rising academy products, etc. — it's the front office's "offline database."

That's where eight members of the RSL front office gathered to discuss Waibel and scout Dane Murphy's thoughts on Uruguayan center back Marcelo Silva after their trip to Madrid.

In short, "He's our guy," they said.

Silva, whose signing was announced last week, was RSL's first summer acquisition. He will be added to the roster upon the transfer of his International Transfer Certificate during the summer transfer window, which opens Monday and runs through Aug. 9.

MLS teams generally make fewer moves over the summer window than they do during the primary transfer window (Feb. 14 to May 8 this year). But for a team with a head coach who started in late March, it's a chance to begin building something new.

Mike Petke was hired as the RSL head coach after the firing of Jeff Cassar three games into the season. Other than the May acquisition of Jefferson Savarino, this year's summer transfer window marks the first time Real Salt Lake will be adding pieces with Petke in charge.

"It is going to take a while," Petke said after the Orlando match last week, referencing a postgame conversation with former RSL coach Jason Kreis. "It is going to take time to make this my team."

Petke has been active in the process of getting there.

"He comes down to our office all the time," Murphy said, "hears our ideas, we hear his ideas. To be honest, his voice is what we need to listen to because he's creating the product on the field and managing the players. So I love Mike's input, and he has been vocal about what he thinks will help the team in the way, and in the system, he wants to play."

The professional soccer season for the majority of the rest of the world runs from August to May. That means that if an MLS team is going to sign an international player as a free agent, it will more than likely have to do so in the MLS' secondary transfer window.

"It allows you to potentially add a player that you don't have to invest in, say, a transfer fee or a big loan fee," assistant general manager Elliot Fall said. "You can add a player in the middle of the season who may be able to kind of push you over the top."

Seattle's midseason acquisition of Nicolás Lodeiro last year gave it that kind of push. The former Boca Juniors midfielder helped redirect the Sounders' sputtering season into an MLS Cup victory.

While RSL hasn't staged a comeback like Seattle's, it has added game-changers during past summer windows.

In Kreis's first season as head coach — like Petke, he was hired midseason — RSL used the 2007 summer transfer window to make a flurry of roster changes.

Notably, RSL acquired Kyle Beckerman (Colorado), Chris Wingert (Colorado), Yura Movsisyan (Kansas City) and Robbie Findley (Los Angeles) through intra-league trades that year. It also signed Argentinian midfielder Javier Morales and forward Fabian Espindola.

More recently, the team acquired Juan Manuel Martinez in the summer of 2015.

"When we added Burrito Martinez, that transformed our team as well," Fall said. "He wasn't really able to change the group in 2015, but I think you saw in the beginning of 2016, when he was firing on all cylinders, we were a very dynamic team."

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RSL summer transactions


In » Forward Pedro Baez, July 22, loan from Cerro Porteno.

Out » Forward Devon Sandoval, July 13, loaned to Rayo OKC.


In » Midfielder/forward Luis Silva, July 16, trade from D.C. United; forward Juan Manuel Martinez, Aug. 13, free transfer.

Out » Forward Alvaro Saborio, July 16, traded to D.C. United.


In » Forward Sebastián Jaime, Aug. 8, transfer from Unión Española.

Out » Defender Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Aug. 11, traded to NYCFC.


In » Defender Brandon McDonald, July 17, trade from D.C. United.


In » Forward Kenny Mansally, July 21, free transfer; defender Kwame Watson-Siriboe, June 27, trade from Chicago; forward Justin Braun, July 11, trade from Montreal; midfielder David Viana, Sept. 14, free transfer.