Midfielder Andy Williams
, 32, has spent much of this season on the bench for Real Salt Lake. Through the first two thirds of the season, Williams made just
two starts in addition to a dozen or so brief appearances as a substitute. But Williams has been a crucial offensive sparkplug during Salt Lake's run to the playoffs. "He's been playing
incredibly. It seems every time he's on the field, he's creating chances for us, and a lot of them are resulting in goals. I don't think there's any accident there," said RSL defender Chris Wingert
. "I've been really impressed by his play week in and week out, and he seems to keep doing it. He's a guy we really need to have on the field."
RSL posted a 4-3-2 record in the final nine games of the season. During that stretch, Williams made five starts, appeared in every game and logged one goal and five assists. "For me,
what was more impressive than some of the outstanding touches and passes he had was the defensive work he did, and he shows he's capable of that," RSL coach Jason
said after the season finale victory over Colorado. "When he does that, it's huge for the team. I always know the touches are going to be there, it's always a question of if he's going
to be committed to defending."
With his late season display of skill and desire, Williams is proving he still has plenty of juice left in the tank as a productive midfielder in
Major League Soccer. He aims to parlay that success into having RSL pick up the option year on his contract after this season. But Williams says he's not worried about next season yet. "Especially
with me, you always have to keep your options open. We have an expansion draft next year and anything's possible," said Williams. "The team is looking to improve next year. For me, I'm always trying
to do my best no matter what, in case of the worst-case scenario."
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