SALT LAKE CITY — As expected, Real Salt Lake took a pass in the first round of Thursday's Major League Soccer SuperDraft, trading away its pick for cash.
Earlier this week, RSL general manager Garth Lagerwey strongly hinted that his club might trade its first-round pick for money to help the club stay under the salary cap.
That's exactly what happened, too, as RSL traded its top pick to Chivas USA, which used it to select Victor Estupinan, a forward out of Ecuador.
Lagerwey said his club was looking at about six players and when none of them was available when their No. 14 pick came along, they went to Plan B and traded the pick for money, a little more than $75,000.
"I wouldn't call it a dream scenario or anything, but we needed some money to get under the salary cap, and we did that," Lagerway said.
Lagerwey said RSL wanted to keep its veteran group — that went 15-4-11 last year — together and feels it will be ready to challenge for the MLS title when the season begins in March.
Coach Jason Kreis reiterated Lagerwey's comments, saying, "The best scenario for us was to take the money and do everything we could to keep this core group together. We didn't want to do anything that would harm our team and didn't want to take a player that we would have to make a difficult decision on another player and become salary-cap compliant by March 1."
RSL did draft one player in the three-round draft, getting Jarad vanSchaik, a midfielder from the University of Portland, with the 52nd pick, the third-to-last pick in the draft. Real didn't have a second-round choice, having traded one to Kansas City and the another to Portland, through Chivas.
"Jarad is a good athlete, a left-footer, and we'll see if he can come in here and make the team," Lagerway said.
Although his odds may be long, Kreis didn't rule out the possibility of vanSchaik sticking with Real.
"Everybody's got a chance to make our team, and it's never been any different," he said.
RSL's players will report next week for physicals and the team will head south to Arizona on Jan. 23 for training camp. The first official game will be Feb. 22 at Columbus in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal round and will continue a week later at Rio Tinto Stadium. The first league game is March 19 at San Jose.
Vancouver, one of two expansion teams along with the Portland Timbers, had the top pick and selected Omar Salgado, a 17-year-old forward from El Paso, Texas, who plays for the US U-20 national team. The Timbers used the No. 2 overall pick on University of Akron forward Darlington Nagbe.
The third and fourth picks were also products of the champion Akron team, as D.C. United selected midfielder Perry Kitchen, while Chivas selected defenseman Zarek Valentin. In all, five Akron players were taken among the first eight picks.
1. Vancouver, Omar Salgado, f, U.S. U-20 national team.
2. Portland, Darlington Nagbe, m, Akron.
3. D.C. United, Perry Kitchen, m, Akron.
4. Chivas USA, Zarek Valentin, d, Akron.
5. Philadelphia, Zac MacMath, g, Maryland.
6. New England, A.J. Soares, d, California.
7. Houston, Kofi Sarkodie, d, Akron.
8. Vancouver, Michael Nanchoff, m, Akron.
9. Chicago, Jalil Anibaba, d, North Carolina.
10. Kansas City, C.J. Sapong, f, James Madison.
11. Houston (from Seattle through Portland), Will Bruin, f, Indiana.
12. Columbus, Rich Balchan, d, Indiana.
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