The progress of youngsters Luis Gil and Collen Warner is one of the hot-button topics in Real Salt Lake camp this season, but that doesn’t mean Jason Kreis’ group is going to rush the process.
The RSL head coach asserted this offseason that the teenager Gil is expected to compete for more minutes during his second season with the club, but he affirmed this week that the club will continue to be patient with the teenager's progress.
“I think that we'd be making a mistake if we weren’t saying that Luis is going to be in that same boat this year,” Kreis told MLSsoccer.com. “There’s no expectation or pressure from the coaching staff, at least, on Luis.”
Both Gil and Warner saw action during Real Salt Lake’s 3-3 preseason draw against Seattle on Tuesday in Casa Grande, Ariz., with Warner scoring two goals in the span of two minutes during a back-and-forth matchup between the two Western Conference contenders.
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[inline_node:327951]Warner made his way into 13 regular-season matches last season (including four starts), and also saw 34 minutes of action in a playoff match against Dallas. Gil, meanwhile, saw his action coming in a lone Champions League match.
“I think both of those players have made large leaps,” Kreis said. “And I think you’d have to say Collen probably a little bit more so than Luis, but ... Collen’s five years older than Luis.”
But even as Gil and Warner continue to develop, RSL will actively look to add more young talent to the mix this year. The team has four academy players currently in camp who will be evaluated as prospective Home Grown signings: Nicolo Muniz, Eduardo Fernandez, Maikon Orellana and David Flores.
“We would like to make a couple of signings of our Home Grown players to add to our roster,” Kreis said, “But we’re not going to force ourselves to [add players].”
The reason for adding these young, raw players is simply a matter of numbers. Kreis wants depth to strengthen RSL's roster, especially in reserve games, but he's quick to add the quartet in camp have a long road ahead of them.
“They’ve all got potential to be good professionals, but it’s far too early to say whether or not they would be,” Kreis said. “I wouldn’t lay out any bets, because the odds are certainly stacked up against them.”