Real Salt Lake looks posed to bring in a fourth goalkeeper in the Los Angeles Galaxy’s Josh Saunders.
Salt Lake fans will remember Saunders’ epic performance in MLS Cup 2009 where he gave Salt Lake a very tough match, even making a few saves in the shootout.
For reasons that are unclear, LA wasn’t willing to fork over approximately $80,000 to bring back its two-time champion goalkeeper and instead went shopping in the premier league.
So Saunders, left without a team, appears ready to sign for Salt Lake.
What does this mean?
- Ever since Kyle Reynish proved he wasn’t ready, Salt Lake has needed a second goalkeeper. With Rimando likely traveling a bit for World Cup Qualifying this year, this need is even greater. The side looked to Jeff Attinella, but he is an unproven commodity. The same can be said of homegrown signing Lalo Fernandez. Saunders is proven. He’s won back-to-back championships. He can certainly provide depth, and may cause Rimando to look over his shoulder once or twice during practice.
- Fernandez or Attinella may be cut. There simply isn’t a reason to keep four goalkeepers on the roster. One of these players is probably leaving. Given the benefits of homegrown signings and the age of these two, my guess is Attinella. If Salt Lake does like him for the future, and doesn’t just see him a lower cost version of Reynish, a loan would certainly be option.
- Competition at every position means every position. Usually goalkeepers, like quarterbacks in football, are immune from weekly roster change-ups. But Salt Lake has emphasized the need for competition at every position, and a Saunders acquisition would certainly provide it in goal. Keepin it Real recently quoted Garth Lagerwey to that effect. While no serious person expected Saunders to be available, picking him up will certainly boost competition in goal.
Any way you look at this, it is a win for Real Salt Lake. The low cost of Saunders makes the pickup risk free. If he plays well, he will become a valuable asset for trade or contract negotiations next winter.