Real Salt Lake: Defensive unit healthier, returning as steady force in MLS

Published: Monday, May 6 2013 3:52 p.m. MDT

“We are playing to play in the first team games,” Wingert said. “Try and help the team earn points. My whole focus the past (four months) has been to get back out there and to be in good form so I can help the team win.”

Though it seems obvious, Wingert said his role on the team is to stop the opposing midfielders. However, on Real Salt Lake in particular, the outside back position is also used to create width. RSL's midfielders tend to pinch in, and he said it's important to push up to feed the attack. This is one thing Wingert does well and it often helps the defense create offensive opportunities.

Mansally started Real Salt Lake's first four games and in the most recent three, with exception of Saturday, Palmer received the starting assignment. The addition of Palmer in the offseason added depth and for the first time in years, RSL is truly four deep at the outside back position. In the first third of the season without Wingert, this depth proved to be a huge difference in every game. In addition, the depth adds a healthy amount of friendly competition among RSL's defense.

Along with the rest of Real Salt Lake's position groups, as the squad heals from injuries that plagued them earlier in the season, the defensive unit is beginning to take the pressure off of Rimando and resume play as one of the toughest defenses in MLS.

Whitney O'Bannon is a new media sports writer for the Deseret News. Follow on Twitter at @whitney_oban.

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