Alvarez is poised to shine with RSL

ArturoAlvarez (ISIPhotos.com) 

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By JOSE M. ROMERO

You can hear it in Arturo Alvarez’s voice: Coming to Real Salt Lake is a good thing for his soccer career.

Who can blame the veteran forward-midfielder? He’s joined one of the deepest, most talented rosters in MLS after being chosen by Portland in last November’s expansion draft, then being shipped to Real Salt Lake in exchange for a 2011 MLS Draft pick.

“I would say that being in San Jose and coming here (to RSL), it’s a little bit of a different style,” Alvarez said during the club’s first leg of preseason training in Casa Grande, Ariz., recently. “I think it’s going to suit me better.”

The difference is found in the way RSL plays possession soccer with its strong midfield and depth of quality forwards that like to go right at opponents. Alvarez, with 24 career MLS goals in eight seasons, fits the mold as an offensive-minded player who can be used at either outside midfielder or second forward, which was how RSL deployed him in its first preseason game last week.

Alvarez made an immediate impact. Despite playing only half of the 135 minutes (three 45-minute stanzas), he scored RSL’s first goal of 2011.

After two stints in San Jose, Alvarez experienced a tumultuous expansion draft day before a soft landing in Utah when it was all said and done.

“I think I got the better end of the deal. I’m just happy to be here,” he said. “When I saw that my name came up in the expansion draft getting picked up by Portland, I was just going to head there and keep working hard. I’d never been to Portland before… I know they have a good fan base and I hope everything works out for them.”

RSL coach Jason Kreis and the club’s decision-makers targeted Alvarez after the individual teams’ lists of protected players were made known. Alvarez had been on RSL’s radar since 2007, when it first tried to obtain him. 

“A player that we’d been watching, and a player that has punished us on several occasions,” Kreis said. “When he was available in that expansion draft we were talking about what we may have to give up and had some conversations about some pretty big pieces to acquire him. And to end up only having to give a second-round draft pick, we considered ourselves extremely fortunate.”

Defender Nat Borchers said the team’s acquisition of Alvarez is key for depth.

“I think that he can fill in a lot of holes for us when we have guys who are injured or when we have guys that leave the team for various reasons,” Borchers said. “It’s going to be fantastic to have him in the lineup.”

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22 Responses to Alvarez is poised to shine with RSL

  1. wilyboy says:

    Thought it was a mistake for US to lose him, it’s never a bad thing to have a left sided player of his skill level.

  2. Mango says:

    Man, I can’t wait for the season to start. RSL is stacked with talent. Might be kind of a balancing act trying to divide PT between Sabo, Paulo Jr., AA10, and Espy, but I’d rather have more talent than less–especially late in the season while we’re trying to lock down the SS, US Open Cup, and MLS Cup.

  3. Kevin_Amold says:

    Yeah, there’s plenty of competitions to go around right now.

  4. slyboy says:

    As a San Jose fan, I can tell you we did not miss out on much. Arturo CANNOT use his right foot…at all. On the international level it would be very easy to stop him. He isn’t Arjen Robben, about the only player that can get away with being that one footed

  5. EAscott says:

    Agree that Arturo is going to fit in well with RSL. With all their depth, how the heck did RSL get Alvarez and not lose any one else?

    It’s good they have the depth though, with the multiple competition the will be playing in…

  6. Brokenbil says:

    Is Alvarez a good substitute for Findley?

  7. Quakes in your panties says:

    I like how Borchers has relegated him to a substitute role in that last paragraph. RSL locker room bad blood starts in 3, 2, 1…

  8. Leo says:

    This guy deserves better. Maybe a move overseas.

  9. mark says:

    He will fit in very well with RSL. Was good for the Quakes, but his loss won’t be devistating by any means. Thanks for the contributions to the Quakes tho, definately worked hard and helped us out a lot. Couldn’t use right foot, but its all good. Philly game winner is my highlight, hilarious and great game winner, everyone knew what he had to do and he did it.

  10. Matt says:

    I heard he’s going to play mid, i think Paulo will fill in for Findley.

  11. frank from sf says:

    well if we(quakes) played with ANY kind of possession style of football, he would of been more effective.sure he’s a pure left footed player, but a pretty good one at that, though. nothing but route1 football @ quakesland.

  12. slyboy says:

    You have a bit of a point, Yallop did not attempt to play to his strenghs, but having watched many of the Dallas matches before he came to us, he often still seemed ineffective. Mainly because he does not seem like the best crosser, always the same thing, cut with his left until he see’s an opening to shoot. His salary was over 200k, I think we need someone he is more than a one trick pony for that.

  13. slyboy says:

    *who*

  14. luke says:

    The Philly game winner was completely hilarious… everyone watching that game in the stands and on TV knew he would go to his left left left and then shoot except the Philly defense who for some reason sat on his right foot.

  15. frank from sf says:

    yea we got some more island boys coming, seems our love affair w/ them hasn’t ended. i’d rather take alvarez & his left foot than the bargain shopping we always seem to do, which goes nowhere.

  16. luke says:

    Glen sucked by RJ has been pretty productive… double digit goals in 09 and some great passing leading to 9 assists last season… Alvarez is a consistently bad passer and turns the ball over on the dribble too much. He used to be poor defensively too but gotta give him credit he really upped that part of his game last season.

  17. WK says:

    he must not be able to cross the ball as he hardly ever tried. never took corner kicks. prefers to use the outside of his left foot rather than attempt an easier pass or shot with the inside of his right foot. too predictable in his attack, and unpredictable to his teammates, making it hard to link up. don’t even get me started on his defense.

  18. roger says:

    Met him in Houston, down to earth.

  19. 3VIL L33T says:

    should come back to his hometown and play for the Dynamo after holden left.

  20. Matt says:

    Possession soccer requires you to pass the ball, he’d just run at defenders and turn it over. His negatives far outweigh the couple highlight reel goals he’ll put up every season.

  21. Neruda says:

    RSL has a loaded squad and AA will fill a role. He’s not a player this team is building around. BTW he’s sure to contribute and the same thing can’t be said for a second round draftee. Kries and Lagerway with another great move.

  22. Adam G says:

    I agree. If RSL were to draft Alvarez in the second round, it would be considered absolute genius. Outside of the first round players rarely contribute much that come out of the draft.