The offseason for RSL has been chaotic, with signings occurring seemingly every week.
The signings to date are:
Adam Henley (Full Back): previously spent 6 seasons at Blackburn Rovers – Signed January 9th
Alfredo Ortuno (Striker): previously played in La Lisa 2 with Cadiz CF while on loan – Signed January 3rd
Brooks Lennon (Winger): returns home from English giant Liverpool – Signed December 20th
Taylor Peay (Defender): previously starred for Real Monarchs in USL – Signed December 15th
Aaron Herrera (Defender) : RSL academy product who previously spend 3 seasons with University of New Mexico – Signed December 15th
The pieces seem to be falling for RSL in their hope of clinching their second MLS Cup. Certain signings excite the RSL fanbase and for good reason.
Brooks Lennon returning home for good means that Mike Petke can utilize Lennon similar to what we saw in 2017. Lennon adds great depth off the bench for RSL, he offers a spark. In 2017 Lennon would often come into the game mid-way through the second half and give the attacking third a new look. Opposing defenders will continue to have a hard time adapting to the presence of Lennon, his speed and skill set really troubles certain full backs. If need be he can also play the role of striker, his unique ability to create space makes for a dangerous attacking third for RSL.
Alfredo Ortuno will push Luis Silva to become more formidable at the number 9 spot, or atlas that is the game plan. Ortuno has a wicked left foot and has proven to be a goal scoring threat. Last year in La Lisa 2 he had 17 goals in 42 appearances for Cadiz CF (Silva had 7 goals for RSL in 30 appearances). Depth at any position is crucial, specifically at the number 9 spot for RSL. Last year it felt as though Petke was stranded with Silva being the only threat up front, Yura Movsisyan did not perform and was subsequently moved to the bench for the majority of the season. Ortuno has a large skillset, his 6 ft 1/2 inch frame allows him to be potent in the air as well as having great footwork when the ball hits the ground. I cannot wait to see how he impacts RSL’s front 4.
Adam Henley is just 23 years of age yet has played top flight English football for 6 seasons. His first start for Blackburn was on December 26th, 2011 against Liverpool at Anfied, Henley was just 17 years old. With Tony Beltran expected to be out for some time with a knee injury, you can expect Henley to come in and have an immediate impact. He is a speedy full back who loves to help out in the attacking half, expect Henley to run all day and offer a lot more than just another defensive body for RSL.
There are only two players that are missing from the current roster for RSL, long time RSL legends in Nick Rimando and Kyle Beckerman are in the process of negotiating their contracts and if RSL can lock them in for another year or two it seems RSL are poised to make a run at the MLS Cup in 2018. There are no weaknesses in this lineup, here is how I see RSL setting up for the 2018 season:
CB: Silva and Glad
CDM: Beckerman and Mulholland
ST: Ortuno or Silva