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Waibel: It’s all about confidence for Plata, Movsisyan

GM Craig Waibel isn’t cutting a worried figure over RSL’s strikers.

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Sporting KC Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

If you’ve been wondering what’s up with Yura Movsisyan sitting on the bench, Joao Plata misfiring, and Real Salt Lake’s general goalscoring malaise, you’re not alone.

But RSL general manager Craig Waibel says it’s more about confidence and adjusting to change that’s affected Movsisyan and Plata — the latter of whom he says is really starting to fire on all cylinders.

In an interview on ESPN700 with commentator Bill Riley, Waibel talked about how change has affected his strikers in 2017.

Change affects everyone in very, very distinct ways. Attacking players are built on confidence as it is, and a coaching change is obviously going to have players re-evaluating their own role, and change begets change. Over the last three to four weeks, Mike and Joao have been getting on the same page. It’s really starting to take shape.

What Joao’s being asked to do — the second half of the Seattle game into the game against Philadelphia — we’re starting to see Joao back on the ball against Philadelphia isolating guys, running at them. He produced three or four really good opportunities in the first half against Philadelphia. More of the same is kind of the usual order from us when a guy has a good game.


In terms of speculating too far as to what exactly is going on, I think we saw with Joao there’s a little bit of changes being asked for, and Joao is making those adjustments. You can see that the staff completely understands capabilities of the players as Joao starts coming into his own again. With Yura, I think right now, he’s just not hitting the back of the net, and a little bit of rest will help him. The challenge emotionally and mentally is going to make him stronger for us down the road.

The full interview is worth a listen, of course. Waibel talks about more than just this thing. He also mentioned this bit of information:

You play the guys that are training well, and Silva’s been training well, and he’s been combining well. That essentially is what’s driving the decision for the coaching staff, the best combination on the week.

We’ll see who starts today, of course — that’ll be the big question.