SALT LAKE CITY — Real Salt Lake have already lost one key veteran from its squad, and they could be primed to lost another.
Midfielder Andy Williams is one of five RSL players available in the first stage of the Re-Entry Draft on Monday, and his potential departure from Salt Lake would leave RSL with a second recent absence of a player who helped the club’s rise to prominence in the last three years.
The club dealt defender Robbie Russell to D.C. United last week.
“In both the Robbie Russell and Andy Williams situations, those decisions were made purely because we are what we are, and in MLS we are limited by the number of roster spots and we are severely hampered by salary cap,” RSL head coach Jason Kreis told MLSsoccer.com via phone last week. “It’s quite frankly ridiculously restrictive for a team like ours.
“If we’re Manchester United or any other club in any other country, you take Robbie Russell and Andy Williams and they end their careers here,” he added. “You don’t have a salary cap, and you don’t have all of the limitations of roster spots, and you say, ‘You guys were part of us. You helped to build us, so we’re going to allow you to finish your soccer careers here. Whether or not you play another single minute here, you’re still going to finish this on your terms.’ But we are completely unable to do that.”
The sudden departure of promising young midfielder Collen Warner to the recent Expansion Draft hasn’t made things any easier, and Kreis admitted some uneasiness heading into the heart of offseason roster building.
“In general, we feel very good about the starting 11 that we have right now that are signed with one or two little wrinkles that we think will be sorted out,” Kreis said. “But I believe in a team that needs to be deep. I believe in competition for spots on a week-in, week-out basis. But going back to the real world with the salary cap that we live in, I’m not sure that we’re going to be able to have it how I want it. I think it may be an absolute impossibility."