Real Salt Lake will likely have to wait until after Christmas before the team can land the forward or two who will pair up top with Álvaro Saborío next season.
As general manager Garth Lagerwey explained to fans at the team's Winterfest event over the weekend, the Mexican soccer season just ended and clubs there will be looking to make moves of their own.
"Mexico pays more than we do," Lagerwey said. "You probably are in, I wouldn't call it a holding pattern between now and Christmas, but you have more credibility after Christmas with South American and Central American teams. Because no matter what you offer them right now, they're probably going to sit there and say, 'Hey, Mexico might offer more than you do.' So if you're not smart, you can actually bid up your own price."
RSL has had success with players from Central and South America in the past, and Lagerwey said the team's front office is again looking that direction.
"Some of this is just economics," Lagerwey said. "The economies are less developed ... so the players are more affordable."
The FIFA transfer window won't open until Jan. 21. RSL can sign players before then, but the contracts would not be effective until then.
RSL officials have said they are hoping to sign forwards that will fit under the league's salary cap. But team president Bill Manning has said the club would spend more, similar to what the team did with Javier Morales and Saborio, if it's the right fit.
"The team will remain the star," Lagerwey said. Nobody is going out and buying name-whatever-$30-million-forward-you-can-think-of."
Some other notes from Lagerwey's Q&A (you can watch the video here):
• The team remains in negotiations with its Morales, who could also be drawing interest from Mexican teams.
• RSL could sign another midfielder, but Lagerwey said he believes the team is well stocked with young players who have upside: David Viana, Sebastian Velasquez, Yordany Alvarez, Enzo Martinez and Cole Grossman. "If two of those guys succeed, we're pretty darn good. And that's not even counting Luis Gil," the general manager said.
• Grossman was RSL's selection in the waiver draft. Lagerwey said at least one other club hoped to land the Duke product in the draft, and a team offered to trade for Grossman after the selection.
"We pick Cole Grossman and there in the background [of the conference call] we hear, I'm not going to repeat the word, but a colorful profanity coming from the line. So clearly they were a team that felt Cole Grossman could have benefitted their team."
• Defender Carlos Salcedo, out of the RSL-Arizona Academy, will join RSL in January.