The Argentine maestro re-signed with Real Salt Lake, the club officially announced on Thursday. The deal comes after several months of quiet negotiations following RSL’s elimination in the Western Conference semifinals.
“I had offers from other countries to go and play, but I wanted to keep playing for RSL,” Morales said in a statement. “Utah is like a second home to me and the people in Salt Lake – the fans, my teammates and my coaches – have always made me feel very welcome. I just want to keep playing for them and doing good things for the club.”
Morales, who joined RSL back in 2007, will not count as a Designated Player, though complete terms of the contract were not disclosed as per league policy.
By keeping their playmaker, GM Garth Lagerwey and head coach Jason Kreis insured a level of stability and cohesion amidst a busy – by RSL standards – offseason of moves. Starters Jamison Olave, Fabian Espindola and Will Johnson were shipped out in exchange for allocation money and cap space as RSL continue their hunt for a second piece of silverware to go along with their 2009 MLS Cup title.
“We’re thrilled that Javier will be back with us for the coming season,” Real Salt Lake GM Garth Lagerwey said. “He’s one of the best players in RSL history, is incredibly dynamic on the field and is a stabilizing force off of it. We couldn’t be more excited to have him back for 2013 and we’re very eager to see what he brings to the field.”
Morales, 33, played 29 games, logging just over 2100 minutes and tallying three goals with a team-high nine assists in 2012. It marked his return to full health after his 2011 season was marred by a broken ankle suffered in early May.