MLS Moves: RSL declines options on Morales and Olave

Getting back to the playoffs after missing out in 2015 hasn’t deterred Real Salt Lake from overhauling its roster.

Playmaker Javier Morales and defender Jamison Olave, who combined have played 17 seasons for RSL, are among the players whose options were not picked up for 2017. The club’s roster includes 17 players following renewal of options for goalkeeper Lalo Fernandez; defenders Chris SchulerDemar Phillips and Justen Glad; and forward Ricardo Velazco.

Twelve other players are also contracted for 2017: goalkeepers Nick Rimando and Jeff Attinella; defenders Tony Beltran and Danilo Acosta; midfielders Kyle BeckermanLuke MulhollandSunny and Omar Holness; and forwards Juan Manuel MartinezJoao PlataYura Movsisyan and Jordan Allen.

Olave and Morales can still negotiate new deals with RSL, opt for mechanisms by which they can move to other MLS teams, or leave the league. Three weeks ago general manager Craig Waibel said he was willing to have discussions with Morales but in a team statement outlining the roster he moves he seemed to shut the door.

“Jamison and Javier were remarkable players for this club and great ambassadors for the organization throughout their time with the club,” said Waibel.  “Real Salt Lake enjoyed great success during their time here, winning MLS Cup in 2009 and reaching the Concacaf Champions League final in 2011 and those accomplishments left indelible marks on the club and its place in the community,."

Options were also declined on defenders Boyd Okwuonu and Phanuel Kavita; midfielder John Stertzer; and forwards Emery Welshman and Olmes Garcia. Forward Pedro Baez, whose loan has expired, will return to Paraguayan club Cerro Porteno.

About to expire are the contracts of defenders Chris Wingert and Aaron Maund, and forward Devon Sandoval.

“With the current players under contract, we have a good base to enter the off-season,” Waibel said.  “We had success in 2016 in getting back into the playoffs and now we look to take the next steps to move forward.  Our objective is to get younger this year and we have a good mixture of young players and veterans that can really shape this team as it moves forward into the next stages.”

Under terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, teams were obligated to notify players as to the status of their options by Wednesday. With that process completed, the league will draw up lists of players eligible for free agency, the Re-Entry mechanism, and Waiver Draft. The formal re-distribution of player rights begins Dec. 13 with the Expansion Draft, for which each team can protect 11 players and lose no more than one.
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