RSL general manager Craig Waibel told the Tribune recently that the club has been entrenched in several negotiations with targets in recent weeks. Waibel confirmed once again that the primary targeted position at the moment is the wide forward position. All three contracts RSL has recently offered, Waibel, said, have been offered on the wing.
"We do have a couple other targets that we do want to strengthen," the GM explained, "but the wing position I think obviously is ... we need more depth, we need more quality and we just need more challenge. The guys that start need to know someone's nipping at their heels."
Waibel said the first two deals offered did not work out due to finances, referencing the league's salary cap as the primary reason. Each of the first two players didn't choose offers from different clubs, Waibel added, but chose not to pick RSL at the moment.
"Both are still actively in the negotiation," he said, "but at the same time, neither one of them accepted as quick as we would've wanted. We move onto the third target and we're happy with the depth of our scouting, we're happy with the depth of the conversations, the calendar is what's interesting now. Most players aren't out-of-contract until the June or July, so getting a player out now is a really difficult thing."
Asked if the targets are in specific locations worldwide, Waibel said the wing position is a unique position to shop for on the global market.
"It all depends on exactly how you want that winger to play, where they're going to play," he said. "Traditionally, a true winger, you can find those anywhere in the world. It's not like shopping for a [number] 10. If you're shopping for a technical 10 opposed to a physical 10, you're shopping in different countries. The three players we're actively talking to are all in different areas with all different styles of play."
The wide forward position has already been hit by RSL's rash of injuries. Starters Joao Plata (hip) and Jordan Allen (quad) are both expected to miss the match against the New York Red Bulls Saturday afternoon in Harrison, N.J. Plata hasn't seen time since RSL's season-opener against Toronto FC and Allen was injured in the second match in a 2-0 loss at Chicago.
In the 2-1 home loss to the L.A. Galaxy, two fellow academy products, Brooks Lennon and Sebastian Saucedo, were impressive in their 2017 debuts. It was Lennon's professional debut. The 19-year-old is on a year-long loan from Liverpool FC. Both are expected to get another go at the wide starting spots on Saturday.