With the MLS Expansion Draft coming up in December, Real Salt Lake has the decision to make on protecting 11 players. I plan on breaking down position by position to give you an idea of who I believe RSL will be protecting. First up, we break down the Goalkeepers.
Lalo Fernandez – Lalo is a work in progress. At 19 years old, RSL signed him to a Homegrown Player contract and have kept him on the roster. With no appearances with the 1st team, Lalo has spent some time working with the Real Salt Lake Reserves. This past year, he was the back up goalie option for RSL when Rimando was off on United States Mens National Team duty but never was given a start.
Prediction: Unprotected – My feeling is RSL leaves him unprotected and hope that his lack of starts scares people away.
Jeff Attinella – Attinella has been a reliable back up keeper option for RSL. The Claret-and-Cobalt selected Attinella in the 1st round of the 2011 MLS Supplement Draft but never signed him to a contract. When the back up situation became a mess, with injuries to Josh Saunders, Attinella was brought back.
Attinella is still a young player at the age of 26, and is more experienced for players at his same age. With Rimando on international duty for a portion of the year, Attinella was given the start in 10 matches. He posted a 2-4-4 record during the 2014 year. On average, he allowed 1.4 goals a game.
Prediction: Unprotected – Attinella may be an intriguing option for New York City FC or Orlando FC. The talent is there, you just have to wonder if it will show better when the reps come.
Nick Rimando – United States Mens National Team Goalie Nick Rimando is considered the best goalie in the Major League Soccer. Back in 2007, RSL traded for Freddy Adu and Nick Rimando. 7 years later, Rimando is the crown jewel of the trade. The All Time Leader in Shutouts has 98 regular season wins with RSL. RSL only has 120 wins in their 10 year career. Rimando has proven himself.
This year, Rimando averages only 1.04 goals per game. Most impressive is he has only allowed 1 goal on 5 attempts from the penalty spot. Rimando has that knack of knowing where guys are going towards. Rimando has kept his Goals Allowed Average right around 1 for most of his RSL career. Rimando is the guy you want in the goal with the game on the line.
Prediction: Protected – Rimando has been key to RSL’s successful run over the past 7 years. It isn’t coincidence that RSL has made the playoffs every year since Rimando has joined the team. With Rimando locking down the goal for us, he is the one of the most important players (and positions) to lock up for as long as we can.
Overview: 1 player protected (Nick Rimando)