Bobby Wood leaves Hamburg early ahead of Real Salt Lake move

Bobby Wood might be joining Real Salt Lake sooner than expected.

2. Bundesliga club Hamburg announced Tuesday that the former US men’s national team forward has departed their squad, then ESPN reported that Wood will join RSL ahead of their April 24 season opener at Minnesota United FC. Further, German outlet Hamburger Morgenpost has detailed that Wood's first going to Denmark where his wife is expected to give birth, then he'd depart for MLS.

This development comes 11 days after Wood signed a pre-contract with RSL that originally involved him joining the Utah-based club July 1. At that point, RSL would have conducted nine games of their 34-game regular season, or roughly 27 percent. 

Wood is RSL’s biggest offseason signing as they look to jumpstart an attack that misfired at times in 2020, contributing to an 11th-place Western Conference finish and playoff absence. The Claret and Cobalt have gone about strengthening their offense, also signing former USMNT striker Rubio Rubin and acquiring Ecuadorian winger Anderson Julio on loan from Liga MX side San Luis.

Should Wood be available early on, he’d likely play a key role in head coach Freddy Juarez’s plans. Attack-minded midfielders Albert Rusnak and Damir Kreilach are other key pieces to the puzzle.

At the very least, the 28-year-old is no longer a Hamburg player. He’s featured in 184 combined matches across Germany’s top two divisions, plus scored 13 goals in 45 USMNT appearances.