On day one of the second leg of training camp in Tucson, Arizona on Wednesday, Real Salt Lake saw an infusion of talent with the returns of three key youngsters who have been away at U.S. National Team camp. Justen Glad, Brooks Lennon and Danny Acosta all joined their teammates at the Kino Sports Complex, where RSL will make its home for the next week.
They were welcome additions to the squad in the second week of camp.
“It’s great to have them back in. They’re obviously in shape. They’re obviously sharp right now because they’ve been with the national team,” RSL Head Coach Mike Petke said. “It’s great to get them back and get them intertwined with the group right away. Those are three important players for us.”
Salt Lake’s contingent made up three of the four youngest players at U.S. camp – along with Tyler Adams from the New York Red Bulls – and while none of the three saw playing time in a scoreless draw against Bosnia over the weekend, breaking into the camp for the first time was a good experience for the 2017 U-20 World Cup standouts.
All three enjoyed success in their own right for RSL and on the international stage in 2017.
In his first MLS season, Lennon had three goals and four assists in 25 appearances, 15 of them in a starting role. Used most prominently on the wing, he was also the leading scorer for the U.S. U-20 National Team in its run to the quarterfinals of the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup, winning the CONCACAF Championships for the first time along the way.
Acosta emerged in the middle of the season and ended up starting 16 of his 17 appearances at left back. He finished the season with two assists while battling with veterans Chris Wingert and Demar Phillips for playing time throughout the year. It was his second professional season after spending the 2016 season seeing all of his minutes on loan with Real Monarchs SLC in the USL.
Glad, in his fourth MLS season, started in the final 18 matches after missing some time to injury in between stints with the U.S. U-20s. His prowess alongside Marcelo Silva along the backline keyed RSL’s 8-3-4 run over the last 15 matches of the season and he matured into one of the top center backs in MLS over that stretch.
While those three players figure prominently into RSL’s plans for 2018, they also add to the competition already existent in RSL’s camp.
“It’s not just about those three players. It’s about the 27 that we have right now in camp together. They all add something special,” Petke said. “It’s going to be interesting, some of these positions, who’s going to gun for them and who’s going to win out.”