Ever since Real Salt Lake traded Argentine firebrand and resident striker Fabian Espindola to the New York Red Bulls in 2012, the club has looked far and wide for someone like him. Espindola would have rather eaten the lush green grass at Rio Tinto Stadium before even considering giving up on any play.
Espy was like a bull in a china shop, blasting past and sometimes through defenders in order to get to the ball before his opponent. Once he did, the result was often magical but streaky; there would be long stretches in which he'd fling his arms into the air, looking for an answer from above when his well of goals ran dry.
Real Salt Lake has flung its arms into the air as well, because no player has been able to replace Espindola. Young American striker Devon Sandoval is still young and learning and so is Colombian Olmes Garcia.
So RSL went back to the old Argentine well on Friday, Aug. 8, signing striker Sebastian Jaime for a reported $1 million transfer fee, according to a report in the Salt Lake Tribune. According to one local blog, however, RSL only needed to pay $193,750 for Jaime's services.
The catch is, RSL will now need to make a roster cut of its own--possibly another player named Sebastian. Sebastian Velasquez, RSL's Colombian midfielder, was recently charged and arrested for DUI and has seen the bench more than he's seen the field since Luke Mulholland arrived from the NASL's Tampa Bay Rowdies.
Or, will RSL hold onto the still-emerging and often-electric 23-year-old Velasquez and trade veteran forward Robbie Findley? Findley has been banged up all year and hasn't scored one goal for the claret and cobalt. Also, does RSL have too many forwards on its roster to retain Findley's services now that Jaime has arrived?
Those questions still need to be answered, and probably will be, in short order. In the meantime, RSL fans should be excited about getting a player like Jaime, who at 27 is still young enough to get better and has had enough games under his belt at Chilean club Union Espanola to play immediately.
Like Espindola, the 5-foot-10-inch Jaime has enough polish in his game to play alongside another forward or by himself as a target player up top--a luxury the club doesn't have now that Alvaro Saborio is on the shelf until late fall with an injury. To give you an idea of what you're getting with Jaime, the Argentine scored 44 goals with Union Espanola in 123 appearances, an average of one goal scored per every three matches.