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SALT LAKE CITY — Real Salt Lake's roster will look a little different in 2023, with reports suggesting homegrown veteran Aaron Herrera is on the move to Montreal in a deal that nets RSL $500,000 in general allocation money, a roster spot and a first-round draft pick.
Herrera's journey with RSL began as a teenager in 2012 when he joined the club's Arizona academy. He decided to play collegiately for three years for the University of New Mexico before officially signing with RSL as a 20-year-old in Dec. 2017.
BREAKING: CF Montreal are finalizing a deal with Real Salt Lake to acquire defender Aaron Herrera, per sources.— Tom Bogert (@tombogert) December 20, 2022
RSL will receive $500k GAM + int'l roster spot + 1st rd SuperDraft pick from MTL.
Herrera, 25, is an RSL homegrown and made 124 apps for the club over five seasons. pic.twitter.com/bun1vpsFzv
The right back played in 124 MLS matches for RSL, starting in 119 of them. She scored just one goal in league play, but contributed 19 assists, including a career-best 11 in 2021.
Herrera missed the start and finish of the 2022 due to injuries, but was a constant contributor along the right flank for most of the season opposite Andrew Brody. The highlight of the year for Herrera came in a friendly against Liga MX squad Atlas when he launched a shot from behind midfield over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
Herrera never lacked confidence both on and off the pitch, often being the only player to criticize the team and be frank with the media. In his exit interview following the season, Herrera said the team was "tired of being the underdog team all the time."
"We're tired of going to the playoffs and being the Cinderella team," Herrera said, fresh off the first-round loss to Austin. "We want to be a team like like Austin, like LAFC that goes into the playoffs and they're expected to win. We're never expected to win. We're so sick of that."
Herrera said he had a conversation with the front office following the season about how he knows he has limited years left to help a team contend, but believed RSL was just "a few pieces away" from being an MLS contender every year.
The team's options to replace Herrera at right back currently consist of Andrew Brody and Bryan Oviedo, both of whom prefer playing on the left side.