SANDY, Utah — Real Salt Lake braced for the worst on Wednesday, assuming they would lose two important players in Wednesday’s expansion draft
They did indeed lose two, but neither was a major blow, and RSL even managed to pick up a new weapon before the day was done.
"I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think we're better than we were at the beginning of the day,” RSL general manager Garth Lagerwey reportedly told Michael Lewis of the Salt Lake Tribune. “We lost [Robbie Findley] who wasn't coming back, and we lost [David Horst], who didn't play a minute for us last year."
The newly acquired Arturo Alvarez, who was picked by Portland and then traded to RSL in exchange for a second round pick in the 2011 SuperDraft, has been on RSL’s radar for some time. According to Lagerwey, RSL wanted Alvarez in 2008, when the El Salvador international joined San Jose, but couldn’t afford the price at the time.
The eight-year veteran is still just 25, and after bouncing around some, the move to Rio Tinto Stadium presents a new opportunity within a team that values the skillful ball-handling and attack-first mentality Alvarez has always had.
“I think Salt Lake has the best style of soccer in this league,” Alvarez told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. “They have really good technical players, very skillful players. They keep the ball really well, so I think that fits my style of play. Obviously my experience is running at people, going at people one-on-one. I’m very attacking-minded.”
Alvarez has generally played well against RSL. This season, he scored an 88th-minute equalizer in an Open Cup match that RSL won in penalties. In 2009, he struck a long-distance Goal of the Year candidate against RSL.
It remains to be seen where Alvarez will slot in. He’s mostly played on the flank, either side, but has also played as withdrawn striker on occasion.
“I consider out wide on the flank my best position,” Alvarez said. “But I’m going to come into training camp, and whatever positions that the coaching staff needs from me I’m willing to attempt that, and just work hard and have fun.”