This has been the offseason of Targeted Allocation Money, and Real Salt Lake again has used the influx of cash to strengthen the team up the spine.
This time RSL signed former Union Berlin midfielder Damir Kreilach, the team announced Wednesday morning.
“From watching Union Berlin games he was a player that was kind of a level above on the field,” RSL technical director Dane Murphy told the Salt Lake Tribune. “... He scored goals, he could play box-to-box, he defended just as hard as he attacked.”
The proven German second division midfielder, who will take up an international spot on RSL’s roster pending the receipt of his International Transfer Certificate, bolsters RSL at a position it lacked depth in entering the offseason.
He becomes the third true box-to-box midfielder on RSL’s roster, joining Luke Mulholland and 19-year-old Pablo Ruiz, who RSL signed last week. But Kreilach, 28, carries experience that Ruiz has yet to acquire. Murphy said Kreilach also has the ability to fill in for Albert Rusnák, who has become a regular call-up for the Slovakian national team.
“I think he has the versatility to play anywhere in the center of the field from the defensive midfield position, through center mid to attacking mid,” Murphy said about Kreilach. “I think we have a couple options. When Albert’s out, Jefferson [Savarino] is also pretty comfortable in the attacking mid position.”
Kreilach has spent the past five seasons with Union Berlin and made his final appearance for the 2.Bundesliga club Monday. He’s scored 33 goals for Union, 12 of which he netted in the 2015-16 season.
“Another new country, a new language and a different culture — that’s what I really want to experience as a footballer,” Kreilach said in a statement shared by Union Berlin’s Twitter account. “Union will stay in my heart, and I would be happy and proud if I’m also fondly remembered by some people.”
Kreilach began his professional career in the Croatian first division, joining Rijeka for six seasons beginning when he was 18 years old. He scored 19 goals in 128 appearances, leading the team in scoring for the 2011-12 season (9 goals).