In hiring Jeff Cassar as the new coach of Real Salt Lake, the front office has made clear that it wants continuity above all else.
“Jeff’s been a crucial member of the RSL Family since 2007,” owner Dell Loy Hansen said. “His terrific leadership abilities, strong character and understanding of our locker room, tactics and overarching club culture will allow us to continue to compete for trophies in 2014 and beyond.”
The move to maintain continuity is a good one because this team is loaded and ready to compete for all three available trophies next season.
What to Expect
More Defense – Cassar is a defense-minded guy, having played and coached at the goalkeeper position. Last season’s RSL defense didn’t put up the numbers it should have (largely due to injuries to Nat Borchers, Chris Schuler, and Kwame Watson-Siriboe); however, this season’s edition should be really good.
More of the Same – The only two men considered for the job were both Jason Kreis protégés. That was deliberate. While there were bigger names out there (Bob Bradley, Eric Wynalda, etc.), RSL wanted to keep this in the family. That’s because the formula has worked, and this team is ready to compete again. Unlike the other finalist Robin Fraser, Cassar has been with this exact group of players and is ready to replicate what Kreis has done.
RSL now has a fill holes to fill. Yordany Alvarez and Lovel Palmer were capable back-ups that need to be replaced. In addition, Salt Lake still needs to find future replacements for Javier Morales and Kyle Beckerman that the side can train up.
The coaching staff is still missing a forwards coach and a defensive coach. The former used to be Jason Kreis, but now that RSL has a defensive minded head coach, Salt Lake needs a forwards coach that can continue to train up the young core of forwards. In addition, with the departure of CJ Brown, RSL needs a coach for the defenders.
Finally, the Garth Lagerwey contract watch begins today. A year from now, the Salt Lake GM is out of contract. Dell Loy Hansen has hinted that Garth may leave, but that’s not an option if this squad really wants to continue in its current ethos. Dell Loy needs to give Garth an outrageous offer that keeps him at Salt Lake for the foreseeable future.