2012 Stats: Goals Allowed – 35 (3rd in league), Shots On Goal – 124 (3rd in league)
Incoming players: Aaron Maund (acquired from Toronto FC in trade for Justin Braun), Lovel Palmer (first round pick in Stage 2 of MLS re-entry draft), Carlos Salcedo (Real Salt Lake – Arizona Academy) , Rich Balchan (unsigned, on trial)
Outgoing players: Jamison Olave (traded to New York)
Players on the mend: Nat Borchers (right quad), Chris Wingert (foot)
Key players for 2013: Chris Schuler – high hopes that Schuler will successfully fill Olave’s shoes
Analysis: The biggest issue for the RSL defense early in the season will be the lack of experience on the back line. The pressure will fall on Chris Schuler to step up and fill the spot of Jamison Olave, who was traded to New York. Kwame Watson-Siriboe will likely fill in for injured Nat Borchers, and expect Kenny Mansally to see plenty of playing time as Chris Wingert continues to recover from a foot injury. Tony Beltran, who saw some action with the USMNT earlier this year, will provide plenty of experience in the right back position.
Looking at the stats from the 2012 season, the lack of experience from the starting defenders will be key in the early going this season. In 2012, Borchers and Olave combined for a total of 4074 minutes, compared to 1862 for Schuler and Watson-Siriboe. These two center backs may be young, but their skill, combined with the strong goalkeeping of Nick Rimando and Josh Saunders, will hopefully ensure the same quality defense that RSL fans have come to expect each season.