RSL in CA: Velasquez showing well in preseason

IRVINE, Calif. -’s Michael Black wrote a nice article on Real Salt Lake midfielder Sebastian Velasquez on Thursday, speaking with the rat-tailed playmaker about his rookie year of 2012 and his hopes for 2013.

Velasquez had some illuminating things to say, telling Black that he wants to expand his role in his second professional season.

"Last year I was very nervous," Velasquez told Black earlier this week. "I was on a thin line between making the team or not. Now, this year, I feel like I'm more comfortable. I'm back with my family. We are all so close, I really do consider the team my family. I know the system and I what to expect and I think I am picking up my game.

"Last year, I just wanted to get a chance to see the field," he continued. "This year, I want to see the field a lot more, play a big role for this team. I think I can score goals, play a lot of minutes."

Velasquez has looked good so far in preseason, flashing his trademark technical ability and becoming a much more polished defender. He’s also taken on a more vocal role, helping some of RSL’s new arrivals along as they learn Head Coach Jason Kreis’s system.

RSL coaches and players have taken note of Velasquez’s solid preseason. Kreis told Black in an interview from Irvine that “[Seba] will get a shot to show us what he can do” with fellow midfielders Javier Morales injured and Luis Gil with the U.S. U-20 team.

Claret-and-Cobalt midfielder Ned Grabavoy has also been impressed by Velasquez, praising him on Thursday’s edition of “The Bill and Hans Show.”

“I think Sebastian is a guy who’s looked pretty sharp,” Grabavoy said. “Obviously, he’s a skillful and technical player going forward, but he’s also shown a little bit of maturity in other parts of his game, which is important.”

Give Black's entire article a read. It's well worth your time.