Life Without Javier Morales Might Not Be So Bad For Real Salt Lake

Posted In Features - By Kevin McCauley On Friday, May 13th, 2011 With 0 Comments

Javier Morales is, inarguably, one of the best players in MLS. Even with David Ferreira’s remarkable MVP season last year, Morales is arguably the best attacking midfielder in the league. Last weekend, he had his leg broken by a cynical challenge executed by Marcos Mondaini of Chivas USA. As a result, Morales is almost certainly going to miss the remainder of the regular season. Real Salt Lake were slight Supporters’ Shield favorites over New York Red Bulls before the injury, but the loss of Morales has caused many to speculate that RSL will suffer in form.

Personally, I don’t see that happening. I’m far from an eternal optimist or an RSL fanboy, but there’s some obvious light at the end of the tunnel here. That light is Collen Warner.

By virtue of the fact that Real Salt Lake have one of the best lineups in the league and that they have, until now, been very fortunate when it comes to the health of their players, Warner and other talented bench players have not gotten much playing time for RSL over the last year and a couple of months. The likes of Morales, Alvaro Saborio, Will Johnson, and the entire back line have been absolute rocks. Yet, behind these players, RSL has a couple of great strikers in Paulo Junior and Arturo Alvarez, an entire second string back line that could start together and look competent in MLS, and of course, Warner.

Whenever Warner has actually gotten the chance to play for RSL, he’s been excellent. At only 22 years old and just over a dozen professional games under his belt, he’s only going to get better. He can play in Morales’ role or on the right hand side of RSL’s formation, and with both Morales and Andy Williams getting up there in age, he’s probably a player we’re going to get to see a lot more of in the coming year or two.

The great thing about Real Salt Lake is that they are a team built to sustain an injury like this. They could have two more of their star players go down with injuries and still be a playoff team without much of a problem. For the likes of Los Angeles Galaxy, FC Dallas,  and Seattle Sounders, this is not the case. The latter two are doing an okay job of surviving the injuries to Ferreira and Steve Zakuani, but if Brek Shea and Osvaldo Alonso go down, it could very well be lights out for those teams’ hopes of doing anything more than scraping one of the final wild card positions.

So, what’s life without Morales going to be like? Not that bad, actually. Sure, New York might take the Supporters’ Shield as a result of the injury to Morales, but RSL isn’t exactly going for a giant slide down the table. They’re going to get one of the automatic playoff positions, I’m fairly certain of this. And honestly, the opportunity to get some more playing time for Collen Warner might be the best thing that ever happened to this franchise, other than winning MLS Cup.

About Kevin McCauley - Kevin McCauley is the Editor in Chief of The Allocation Order. He is also the world football editor at SBNation Soccer.

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>