Real Salt Lake’s signing of Jordan Allen is quietly a pretty big deal.
Allen is an impressive player, who has been hyped for years in soccer development circles. He has played in reserve matches for RSL and shows quite well. He is still young, but he is an impressive player with a lot of potential.
To put this in perspective… If Carlos Salcedo had not emerged this season as a legitimate centerback, Allen would already be the biggest name to come out of the RSL academy. In fact, even with Salcedo’s emergence there is a conversation about Allen.
What to Expect This Season
As it stands, Allen will probably spend most of this season in reserve matches. He’ll follow the path that Luis Gil took a few years ago and quietly develop his game behind the scenes. You might see him make the 18 a few times, and he might even play in a match or two.
New coach Jeff Cassar has spent a lot of time focused on youth development, so he might be more willing than Jason Kreis to give Allen first-team minutes this season. But whatever Allen does this season isn’t the exciting part of the signing.
What’s exciting is that Allen has the potential to be a star player in Major League Soccer. He will probably take a year or two to develop into a starting caliber MLS player, but that fits the RSL timeline just fine. Javier Morales is under contract for two more seasons, which will give Allen time to earn the spot as his heir apparent. Even if he fails there, looming retirements and adjustments will open up numerous other spots where Allen could fit into the roster.
The RSL press release indicated he can play forward, midfield, or defense. That’s true, but we’re all quietly hoping he can grow into the next RSL playmaker. He certainly has the ability.