HERRIMAN, UT (Saturday, January 7, 2023) – Real Salt Lake kicks off its 2023 preseason with 45 players in camp, a total which includes 26 returning options from the roster a year ago that advanced to the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs last November. Twenty of the 26 returning players from a year ago played a total of nearly 27,000 minutes across a 34-game MLS campaign that saw RSL (12W-11L-11T) amass 47 points and capture the 7th and final Western Conference playoff seed, reaching the postseason for the fourth time in the last five years and the 12th occasion in the last 15 seasons.
Several starters return from last year’s side, including team MVP Justen Glad, Defensive Player of the Year Andrew Brody and “Iron Man” GK Zac MacMath who became the first-ever player in RSL’s 18 seasons to appear in every one of the Club’s 3,060 reg. season minutes. Veteran DF Marcelo Silva also returns for 2023, a year that saw him wear the Captain’s armband 31 times in place of veteran Damir Kreilach, who also expects to make a strong return in his sixth season on the Wasatch Front.
Other long-time MLS veterans back for the 2023 campaign include winger Justin Meram, MF Pablo Ruiz and MF Scott Caldwell, along with MF Maikel Chang and FW Rubio Rubin. GK Tomás Gomez returns for a second season in Utah, as does last year’s rookie standout, MF Jasper Löffelsend.
Along with 2022 midseason additions FW Jefferson Savarino, MF Braian Ojeda, DF Bryan Oviedo and FW Danny Musovski, the formerly Mexican-based Ecuadoran FW Anderson Julio also returns to Utah in 2023, for his third season.
Returning RSL Homegrown players joining U.S. U-20 starlet Diego Luna include: D/M Bode Hidalgo, DF Erik Holt, DF Jaziel Orozco, DF Zack Farnsworth, FW Axel Kei, MF Jude Wellings and GK Gavin Beavers, along with MF Julio Benitez and newly-signed homegrowns Delentz Pierre and Luis Rivera.
Several Real Monarchs players as well a pair of non-roster invitees look to seize the opportunity to impress Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni and his staff – which continues to include assistant Brett Jacobs, in addition to Matt Taylor and “Nacho” Hernandez – ahead of the Club’s 2023 MLS season opener at Vancouver on February 25 and RSL’s America First Field season debut on March 11 against Austin. Many of the younger / less experienced players are likely competing for time with the Real Monarchs’ second season in MLS NEXT Pro this March, as Head Coach Jamison Olave and his staff evaluate options.
All five of last month’s MLS SuperDraft selections have arrived in Utah, as the Club’s pair of Generation adidas signings – FW Ilijah Paul and MF Bertin Jacquesson – should be comforted by local ties. Former University of Washington standout Paul briefly attended the RSL Academy during the 2020 calendar year, while Jacquesson was a University of Pittsburgh teammate in 2020/21 with last year’s surprise rookie, MF Jasper Löffelsend.
Eight players from a year ago do not return for 2023, including FW Sergio Cordova (loan expiration), GK Jeff Dewsnup (retirement) and DF Aaron Herrera (traded to Montréal in mid-December). Also, FW Bobby Wood, MF Nick Besler, DF Johan Kappelhof, DF Tate Schmitt, and FW Chris Garcia each pursued other opportunities following the 2022 season, as announced in November.
2023 REAL SALT LAKE PRESEASON POSITION GROUPS (as of 7 JANUARY) (2023 SuperDraft picks in BOLD; 2023 MONARCHS + Non-Roster Invitees in Italics
Zac MacMath, Tomas Gomez, Gavin Beavers, Fernando Delgado, Owen Finnerty
Marcelo Silva, Justen Glad, Erik Holt, Zack Farnsworth, Jaziel Orozco, Delentz Pierre, Omar Alba, Bobby Pierre, Keller Storlie
OUTSIDE BACKS (5)
Andrew Brody, Bryan Oviedo, Bode (Davis) Hidalgo, Luis Rivera, Moses Mensah
DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDERS (5)
Braian Ojeda, Pablo Ruiz, Scott Caldwell, Jasper Löffelsend, Gennaro Nigro
ATTACKING MIDFIELDERS (8)
Damir Kreilach, Diego Luna, Julio Benitez, Jude Wellings, Griffin Dillon, Luca Moisa, Tyrone Mondi, Benjamin Rodriguez
Jefferson Savarino, Justin Meram, Maikel Chang, Amferny Sinclair, Zavier Gozo, Terron Williams
Rubio Rubin, Anderson Julio, Danny Musovski, Axel Kei, Ilijah Paul, Bertin Jacquesson, Emeka Eneli