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Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes: Movsisyan, Allen split man of the match

We saw promising things from many players against San Jose, but these two stood out above the rest.

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-Seattle Sounders FC at Real Salt Lake Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The preseason match against San Jose gave us a slight glimpse into what we can expect this coming season, as about half of our preferred starters played together at once — including Yura Movsisyan, Joao Plata, and Albert Rusnak all making starts in the first half.

Given that each half saw an entirely new lineup, I’m splitting the Man of the Match honors between two players.

Man of the first half: Yura Movsisyan

The speed and cohesion that we saw from Yura in the attack against San Jose is what makes him my pick for the first half. Sure, he didn’t score any goals, but the own goal that we got was all due to him. Once he got behind San Jose’s defense and took it a little bit out wide, he unselfishly tried to lay the ball off to a streaking Rusnak in the middle, which as we know was blocked and took a deflection into the net.

That’s just one example of the improved attack we saw from Yura, and I personally think much of it has to do with the speed and confidence of Rusnak, who will be pulling the strings this season. There were plenty of mistakes and there’s much room for improvement, but there are a lot of bright moments to take away from the first half of this game.

Man of the second half: Jordan Allen

Although the second half saw a dip in the speed of play and didn’t involve so much high pressure, it wasn’t all doom-and-gloom for RSL. Jordan Allen once again was able to push the ball forward at times and get out wide for some excellent play, and seemed like the best player out on the pitch in the second 45 minutes. He really put in the extra effort to win possession and stay strong on the ball throughout the half.

For those fans who have been skeptical about Allen potentially snagging the starting position on the right wing this season, he’s been making a strong case for why the spot should be his.

Allen’s play was very much complemented by the skill of Jose Hernandez from the midfield and Ricardo Velazco, who also looked excellent on the ball for much of the second half.

It’ll be interesting to see Allen combine with Plata, Yura, and Rusnak — which I’m sure we’ll see at some point in preseason, if this is to be our regular starting attacking four — to see how they can all really play off each other. Throw Brooks Lennon, Bofo Saucedo, and Luis Silva in the rotation, and we’ve got ourselves a potentially really exciting season ahead of us.