Real Salt Lake held their annual preseason media summit at Rio Tinto Stadium on Monday morning to allow the local media to meet with head coach Mike Petke and general manager Craig Waibel. Both Waibel and Petke were upbeat about the prospects of the club as they prepare for the second leg of their preseason in Tucson, AZ later this week after spending the first week working out at their new training facilities at the Zion’s Bank Real Academy.
Coach Petke complimented Waibel and the rest of RSL’s front office for the strong roster of talent they compiled during the offseason. He said that he feels the club is integrating as good as can be expected this early in preseason. He again praised his team individually for the shape each player reported to camp in. He reiterated that the players have been inundated regarding tactics since day one by Petke and his staff but have responded well. The club will scrimmage with the RSL Academy team this evening at the ZBRA in Herriman, with first team players slated to each get about 30 minutes of action each according to Petke.
Midfielder Sunday “Sunny” Stephen has reported to camp according to Waibel, who said that his situation was “some confusion” and that the club has worked through the issue(s) at hand. Petke added that Sunny is working out with the team’s strength and conditioning staff to get him into shape, mainly by running twice a day, as they look to get him on the field with the team.
Another roster move for the Claret-and-Cobalt came to the forefront today as well. Maddie Lee, RSL beat writer for the Salt Lake Tribune reported this afternoon that the club has signed veteran goalkeeper Alex Horwath, who most recently was playing in Norway for club SK Brann:
Goalkeeper Alex Horwath has signed with RSL, per league sources. The birth of his kid has delayed his arrival at preseason camp.
— Maddie Lee (@maddie_m_lee) January 29, 2018
Horwath has yet to report to RSL’s camp as he is celebrating the birth of his son with the club’s blessing. The 30-year-old will compete for backup minutes between the pipes with Connor Sparrow, who was promoted to the first team in the offseason after a standout season for the Real Monarchs in 2017. Veteran keeper Nick Rimando signed a multi-year contract extension with RSL this offseason and figures to be the club’s first team keeper throughout the 2018 campaign, barring National Team duty or injury.
You can listen to the full interview sessions with Mike Petke and Craig Waibel here: