Real Salt Lake had high expectations for Argentine midfielder Matias Cordoba this year, but things never quite unfolded that way, and the 23-year-old is returning to South America.
Following Monday's training session, one in which RSL coach Jason Kreis said Cordoba trained very hard, Cordoba approached the coaching staff and said he wanted to return to Argentina. The team granted his request to find a new club.
"I knew he was unhappy and he wanted more playing time. I think he's going back to Argentina to play," said Kreis. "We've stated all along we want to be a player-friendly organization. We've said from day one we want players who want to be here, and we don't want players who don't want to be here."
Cordoba had appeared in seven matches for RSL this year, including two starts in late June while Andy Williams was away with the Jamaican National Team. In his 173 minutes, Cordoba failed to record a goal or an assist.
"We're not talking about a proven Argentine player, either; he's still young and he doesn't have a boat load of first-team games, either, down there, so I think he's still a developing prospect," said Kreis.
With Cordoba's departure, RSL now has three vacant roster spots on its 28-man roster. The other two were created when Carey Talley was traded to Chivas USA and Nik Besagno was loaned to the Seattle Sounders of the USL First Division.
The MLS transfer window opens on July 15, and Real Salt Lake general manager Garth Lagerwey said he and the coaching staff will leave no stone unturned to try to increase the team's talent level.Lagerwey said the team has already hosted four trialists, a few of whom may end up earning a contract.
THE LONG ROAD BACK: RSL midfielder Nate Sturgis is nearly back at full strength after training for most of Tuesday's training session at Xango Field in Lehi.
"I'm just trying to work my way back into this. Hopefully in the next week or so, I'll be ready to go," said Sturgis.
Sturgis injured his hamstring at Toronto FC on April 19 and then reinjured it about a month later in practice while rushing back a bit prematurely. Despite playing in just two matches thus far, Sturgis is optimistic about the second half of the season.
"We still have an important part of the season left to make a push for the playoffs, and I definitely feel like I can still get healthy and help the team later in the season," said Sturgis, who's also in the mix for a roster spot on the U.S. Olympic Team this August.
With several injuries and roster vacancies, Kreis said the timing of Sturgis' return is very critical."We are thin right now with our numbers, so we need everyone on board, and we need everyone healthy and strong for the second half of the season," said Kreis.