In an attempt to quickly establish defensive depth, Real Salt Lake acquired third-year center back Kwame Watson-Siriboe from the Chicago Fire on Wednesday in exchange for a 2014 first-round draft pick.
RSL has struggled on the backline with the absences of Jamison Olave and Chris Schuler, normally Olave's backup, who have both been sidelined with injuries.
"I think everybody's seen that we have a dearth of center backs right now," said coach Jason Kreis. "So, we've been talking about it actually for a couple of weeks, trying to get another one in."
Kreis said Watson-Siriboe could play as soon as Saturday at Columbus, but it isn't guaranteed.
"He's still young and quite inexperienced," Kreis said, "doesn't have a whole lot of MLS matches, first-team matches, under his belt. But he has been playing now for several years. I feel like he could be a real nice addition for us and give us some much-needed depth."
Watson-Siriboe played at the University of Connecticut, and after his rookie season with the Fire, spent last year on loan with FC Tampa Bay. As a rookie, he appeared in 10 matches with Chicago, starting seven.
RSL has lost two straight games and the scrutiny has fallen largely on the backline, where outside back Chris Wingert has been forced to play out of position in the middle. Kreis said he is still hopeful that Olave, who injured his calf against lower-level Minnesota last month, will be healthy enough to play on Saturday but that he is still unsure.
RSL at Columbus
P Saturday, 6 p.m. CW30