Officials at Real Salt Lake hardly relished the thought of losing center back Jamison Olave, a center piece of the successful teams at Rio Tinto over the past few years. Big, speedy, smart and commanding, Olave has stood among the league’s top central defenders since his MLS introduction in 2008.
But Olave’s salary (on the books for $250,000 last year and scheduled for a bump in 2013) was just too much for RSL when held against his inability to remain on the field over extended periods.
Two injury stretches last year damaged Real Salt Lake’s shot at challenging San Jose for the coveted Supporters Shield; the Colombian defender missed 13 of a possible 34 MLS starts.
Olave missed 10 starts the year before that, in 2011.
Officials around Rio Tinto loved having the big fellow around, but figured that a separation was the thing for the team. Olave’s trade to New York just hours after the final whistle of 2013 was the first of three major veteran trades for RSL.
What happened last night at Red Bull Arena underlines RSL’s concerns. Olave, 32, limped off the field in his team’s 1-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City. That was 20 minutes after he was beaten by Aurelien Collin for the game’s only goal.
The club has yet to issue an update on Olave’s apparent knee injury.