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What we’re watching as RSL travels to take on Houston Dynamo

Real Salt Lake travel to Texas for a double-game week starting against home-strong Houston Dynamo.

MLS: Houston Dynamo at Real Salt Lake Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake look to be on the upswing, both in health and in overall team form. An away trip to Texas, where we play two games this week, will be a significant test. Rimando is out all week and while we have Savarino for the first game against Houston, he’ll be with his national team (playing at Rio Tinto) on Saturday when RSL take on FC Dallas. Does last Saturday’s win point to true improvement or to more inconsistency?

Matt Van Oekel

Nick Rimando is with the US Men’s National Team this week and that leaves some big gloves to fill. In the five games Van Oekel has played, he’s allowed eleven goals and recorded one shutout. Van Oekel is a good keeper but his time between the sticks coincided with defensive injuries, so his numbers don’t look impressive. With more and more defenders coming back from injury this game may be kinder to Van Oekel. One thing Rimando has that Van Oekel might not is a voice of authority on the team. It’s not surprising; Van Oekel is new and Rimando has been with RSL for a decade and is the league GOAT. Look to see how Van Oekel commands the back line and organizes the defense.

The Journey of Yura Movsisyan

It’s been a strange year for Yura. He recorded four goals early in the season, it was revealed that he’s the highest paid player in RSL history, and then the goals dried up. His last goal came in mid-April. He hasn’t been starting of late and Luis Silva has shown improvement. Yura is still a good player but something isn’t working. It’s hard to say what exactly is off, but the final product clearly isn’t there right now and Yura knows it. Hopefully he goes out there with something to prove and delivers.

Plata

Joao Plata had an impressive game against the Philadelphia Union last Saturday. His goal was some beautiful back and forth work with Jefferson. He put in good work his whole shift. Much like Yura, his season has been underwhelming so far. As much as I’d like the Plata of old to be back and banging in goals, one match is too soon to tell. So, let’s take this game as the decider! Ok, maybe not, but I am curious to see if he puts in the same work rate. If he can have smart movement and good team play, we’re likely to get more results from the young Ecuadorian.