SANDY — They're back.
With the offseason nearly behind them, Real Salt Lake's players and coaches gathered Saturday afternoon at Rio Tinto Stadium for the club's annual media day.
RSL's offseason will officially end when the club departs for Arizona on Monday for the first phase of its long preseason.
RSL head coach Jason Kreis addressed the media and spoke of the competition that is going to stem from the core of players battling for minutes on the pitch.
"What we have this year, when all is said and done — and it's not all said and done yet — but what we believe is that if the playing comes to fruition, that we will have meaningful competition in every position on the field," said Kreis. "And I believe that is what led us to a championship in 2009."
Saturday was also a welcome back for Robbie Findley, who returns to RSL after a stint in England. He joins forward Alvaro Saborio on the attacking front.
"It's been in the works for a few weeks now, but to finally get it done and to be here is a good feeling," said Findley. "Being able to come back to a place where I am comfortable, and to know a lot of guys and the coaching staff, made it that much easier."
Findley hopes to be the spark for an RSL squad that finished scoreless in the final five games of the 2012 season.
Coach Kreis admitted that acquiring Findley at a pivotal point in the 27-year-old's career would be a key factor in his second stint with the Claret and Cobalt.
"So far, our most exciting addition was to bring Robbie back. He's a great team chemistry guy, extremely hard working and I think he's in the exact right position for success right now," said Kreis. "We are excited to hopefully help Robbie get back to being Robbie Findley on an upward curve."
Kreis didn't beat around the bush when addressing Findley's trial in Europe, but stayed positive in the mindset that Findley can use the experience as a fuel to light the fire that helped led RSL to MLS Cup in 2009.
"Let's be frank and honest, Robbie has not succeeded in his latest endeavor, so he comes back to us with something to prove," said Kreis. "In our prior experience of bringing a player in with something to prove, and are hungry for something, those players have done particularly well. "
Nearly two years removed from a gruesome ankle injury, Javier Morales was on hand after re-signing with the club Thursday. The veteran midfielder spoke of his love for Utah, and how becoming that player he once was is in his sights for 2013.
"I talked with my family a lot, and I think that I found my place. Utah is my place. I'm very happy here, my family too, and I want to play for Real Salt Lake," said Morales. "Now I'm ready. After last year, I'm ready to play and hopefully become the same player I was before the injury. "
For a club that had the most wins in franchise history last season, getting over a sense of failure — and replacing it with perfection — is a top priority for coach Kreis.
"We're a victim of our own success here at Real Salt Lake. There's no doubt about it," said Kreis. "I told the players that we strive for perfection. Perfection for us is about winning a championship, about advancing in tournaments like CONCACAF, and winning trophies.
"We will continue to do our absolute best to improve every day, and strive for perfection."
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