Real Salt Lake general manager Garth Lagerwey told reporters Tuesday that RSL may trade away their first-round pick in the MLS SuperDraft, citing salary cap concerns for a club already stocked with talent for perhaps the first time in franchise history.
RSL own the 14th pick in the first round of the draft, as well as a third round pick at No. 52 overall.
“We need to be mindful of our salary cap situation going into the draft,” Lagerwey said. “You could possibly see us trade this pick.
“Most likely it would be for money – for salary cap relief – allocation money to be specific. You can never predict what the deals are going to be when you get on the board, and what we’re offered will influence what we are more inclined to accept.”
Although he raised the prospect of a trade for the pick, Lagerwey admitted that this was something that the staff will discuss right up to the point of their pick on Thursday.
“As we go into this draft we have to weigh … do we take another youngster and understand that may put a veteran’s job in jeopardy, from a salary cap perspective,” he said. “Or do we maybe look at moves that may help us keep our core together? That’s the philosophical issue we’ve got to resolve in the next 48 hours.”
Should the team decide to keep their pick, they don’t have a particular need that they will be looking to fill. Instead, he insists that they will “try to take the best player on the board.”
However, Real Salt Lake’s version of “best player on the board” may differ from others.
“The RSL player mold is that you have to be good on the ball. If you’re not, it just doesn’t work on our team,” Lagerwey said. “Preferably layered on top of that is some athletic ability because we ask our players to run so much.”
Although he didn’t say as much, there are two qualities in a player that would seem to hold a premium for the team: Generation adidas status to alleviate the salary cap concerns, and a good left foot, as Lagerwey referenced the lack of true left-footed players on the team.
The one thing that the team won’t be expecting out of the draft is to find a player that will contribute immediately.
“The fact is we don’t expect these kids to play this first year. Any kind of benefit that we get out of it this first year is a real bonus,” Lagerwey said. “As a result we’re going to try to pick some kids that we think have some upside.”