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Real Salt Lake makes significant roster changes for 2013

By Kira Terry and Paul Nelson | Posted - Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 9:33pm

SANDY — Throughout the day on Monday, Real Salt Lake saw players come and go as the club began to build its 2013 roster.

The Salt Lake club made the kind of changes that it hasn't seen for quite a few years. "This is the first time in five or six years that this club has seen these kinds of moves made," said RSL Vice President of Communication, Trey Fitz-Gerald.

One of the biggest changes to the roster was the loss of two veteran RSL players - defender Jamison Olave and forward Fabian Espindola - both of which were traded to the New York Red Bulls.

"Those guys have played a lot of games and have been a part of a lot of big moments for this club," said Fitz-Gerald.

Espindola has been with the Salt Lake club twice in his soccer career - first when he was signed on Aug. 17, 2007 and then again nearly two years later when he re-signed with the Claret and Cobalt on May 4, 2009. The 27-year-old Argentine striker tallied 125 regular season matches (starting 104) during his time with RSL, and also totaled 35 goals and 17 assists.

Olave came to the Claret and Cobalt in early 2008 and has been with the Salt Lake club since. The 31-year-old defender has seen 120 regular season matches in the RSL uniform, starting all but one.

RSL started the day of changes off with some bad news for RSL fans by declining four players options - former goalkeeper Kyle Reynish, forward Paulo Junior, midfielder Jonny Steele and forward Emiliano Bonfigli.

"These changes, and others, are necessary in order for us to get a little bit younger, a little bit cheaper, a little bit faster and, hopefully, a little bit better," said Fitz-Gerald. "As you know, the big thing we need to address is goal scoring."

Out of the four declined, Reynish had been with the Salt Lake club the longest - being picked up by RSL in the fourth round of the 2007 MLS Supplemental Draft. Paulo Junior came to the Claret and Cobalt on loan in 2010, Steele entered the club just this year and Bonfigli was picked up in the 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft.

RSL also lost Canadian midfielder Will Johnson and Salt Lake native forward Justin Braun. Johnson was traded to the Portland Timbers for allocation money, while Braun was traded to Toronto FC for former Toronto FC defender Aaron Maund.

Johnson has been with the Salt Lake club since Aug. 22, 2008, while Braun had only been with the Claret and Cobalt since July of this year.

Not all RSL news Monday was rough news for fans as the club re-signed defenders Chris Wingert and Tony Beltran. Wingert has been with the club since 2007 while Beltran joined RSL in 2008.

The final change of the day for RSL was signing goalkeeper Jeff Attinella, former Tampa Bay Rouwdies player.

Following Monday's changes, the 2013 RSL roster still includes goalkeeper Nick Rimando, defenders Nat Borchers, Kenny Mansally, Chris Schuler, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, midfielders Kyle Beckerman, Luis Gil, Ned Grabavoy, Enzo Martinez, Sebastian Velasquez, David Viana and forward Alvaro Saborio.

Kira Terry
    Paul Nelson

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