This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Sandy • Major League Soccer's primary transfer window, which allows clubs to strike deals on international transfers and in-league trades, is sealed shut once the clock strikes 11 p.m. Wednesday evening in Utah.
That seal, however, has a short shelf life.
Seven weeks later, the league's secondary transfer window opens on July 4 for another month, allowing franchises another go at stockpiling talent.
Not much has changed for Real Salt Lake. General manager Craig Waibel told the Tribune this week that his primary goal hasn't wavered: He's out to sign a high-quality center back to add to the stable of central defenders RSL currently has and fortify the roster at other positions if opportunities are presented.
"We still have a couple of things that are on the stove-top, but I'm apprehensive to say anything that is concrete and will get done," Waibel said regarding the primary window closing Wednesday night. "We've been diligently working here for four or five months on a tight budget to try and bring in a high-quality player. We're not really willing to compromise on the high-quality part."
Could anything happen before the deadline Wednesday?
"I think it's fair to say we'll be moving into the summer window," Waibel added, "but we're still having some active conversations about a few moves."
RSL's impressive start to 2016 (5-2-2, 17 points) has left the club's GM "very satisfied" ahead of the secondary transfer window.
"I think performance-wise, we've been a little bit ahead of where we expected to be this early in the year with some of our games, but then some of our games remind us we've still got some room to go," Waibel said.
But the amount of inquiring phone calls in the league and worldwide are steadily increasing, Waibel said. He only expects that to continue when the primary window closes Wednesday, leaving the 55 days between both windows to set up what could be an eventful summer in MLS.
Beyond the search for another center back, RSL could also look to make moves elsewhere.
"We need to be very active in every effort to improve and challenge the status quo in the attacking half, whether that be trading players, selling players … the thing we need to always be actively doing is looking to improve the roster," Waibel said.
RSL's roster sits at 25, three shy of the league's allowed roster max number of 28. Does that spell more activity for RSL over the next three months? It all depends on how hypothetical players and at what potential salaries numbers could fit into the club's budget.
"If we can figure out a solution to bring in a player that performs at a higher level than one that we have, we have to do it," Waibel said. "We will be extremely active on the phone in the league, and we will be very active outside the league with a few of our players to see if we can sell or loan some players and bring in some more talent."
Last August, RSL completed the signing of Argentine forward Burrito Martinez during the secondary transfer window. In this cycle, RSL finalized a year-long loan deal for striker Yura Movsisyan from Spartak Moscow in January and later signed Nigerian midfielder Sunday Stephen.
Aaron Maund returned to America First Field Tuesday. The RSL center back took laps around his practicing teammates by himself as he continues to nurse his hamstring strain suffered on April 30 against Houston.
"He's probably actually progressing faster [than anticipated], but you want to be smart," RSL coach Jeff Cassar said. "I think this week will be really tough, but we'll look for him back in Kansas City [on May 21]."
Left back Demar Phillips suffered a Grade 2 groin strain in the 1-0 loss at Colorado over the weekend, Cassar added. The Jamaican defender is expected to be out 1 to 2 weeks.
MLS transfer deadline has arrived
• Primary transfer window: Feb. 18-May 11
• Secondary transfer window: July 4-Aug. 3
Real Salt Lake at Houston Dynamo
P Saturday, 6:30 p.m.
TV • KMYU