I understand not a ton of people in Utah or other Jazz fans are not soccer fans, but for those that are you will understand this completely. For those that don’t follow RSL you will understand what I’m talking about in just a second.
Last year Real battled for the playoffs and had a solid season before losing to the Seattle Sounders in the playoffs. They had veterans that the team worked around but young talent behind those guys that they decided to let a few of their veterans go to “rebuild” or in this case and the case with the Jazz to see what the young guys can do.
RSL let go of Fabian Espindola and Jamison Olave to the New York Red Bulls and Will Johnson to the Portland Timbers. Everybody projected RSL to lose a lot of games and not make the playoffs but here they are with three games left in second place in the West and the third best team in the standings league-wide.
Players such as Olmes Garcia and Joao Plata stepped up along with Carlos Salcedo, Luis Gil and Devon Sandoval. Heck the whole team has worked well together all year and are surprising everyone including veterans Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando and Alvaro Saborio.
The Utah Jazz are in a similar situation this year where they have let go of veterans that led the team in AL Jefferson and Paul Millsap along with other players such as Randy Foye and Mo Williams. The media is projecting a lot of losses for the Jazz and everybody would be surprised if the Jazz are pushing a spot in the playoffs at any point during the season.
The young leaders of the team, however, will be sorely disappointed if we are losing most games and players like Gordon Hayward will not be happy. In fact Gordon is all business and I expect him to surprise everyone this year including hardcore Jazz fans because Hayward is not only as good as Paul George… he’s better. The Jazz have worked hard like most teams during the off season but I think this year was even more so. Karl pushed them, Sloan pushed them, Corbin pushed them but most importantly they all pushed themselves.
The Jazz do not have a single player on this team that is not a work horse and it will show this year. Sure they still have to build chemistry and get their timing right but if the Jazz have an RSL type season I won’t be surprised and neither should you.
** RSL plays tonight in the US Open Cup Finals vs DC United at Rio Tinto starting at 7 pm MST. Game is not televised and there are tickets available, this is not a game you want to miss.