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What we’re watching in RSL vs. Houston Dynamo

RSL hosts the Dynamo and will hope to take retribution for the 5-1 loss in May

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Houston Dynamo Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Dynamo are third in the west on 33 points, but only have one road win in 2017. As Real Salt Lake learned in May, this team is very strong at home, however they’ve lost 7 out of their 11 road games this year. Real will need to win this game if we want to make the playoffs. We’re likely to see the same starting 11 for RSL we’ve had recently and one big change in how the league operates.


Video assist referee (VAR) goes live this weekend. This is a significant change to how the game is officiated. I am a fan of this system, but it’s obviously not without its challenges. Human error still exists and with any new system, it can take a while to work out the kinks. Professional Referees Organization (PRO) were recently in Park City for VAR training and we’ve seen VAR used in both preseason and the U20 World Cup. The four reviewable situations are goals, penalties, red cars, and mistaken identities. I’m curious to see how it affects the game, how long reviews take, and if it has any major changes such as red cards or goals being rescinded take place.

For more information on VAR, visit

A consistent line up

We’re likely to see the same team take the field that we’ve had over the last several matches. Nick Rimando in goal, Danilo Acosta, Justen Glad, Marcelo Silva, and Tony Beltran on the back line, Sunny and Kyle Beckerman in defensive midfield, Albert Rusnak in the number 10 spot, Joao Plata and Jefferson Savarino on the wings, and Luis Silva up top. This has been an effective formation and consistency helps any team. Most of the season we’ve seen a starting 11 pieced together with whoever wasn’t injured. While we still have six players on the injury report this week, Demar Phillips is the only starter. We’re starting to see a team of our choice players and the more time they spend together, the better they should get.

A Tale of Two Silvas

RSL now has a Silva at both ends of the field. At the start of the season, this wasn’t the clear plan, but this is how this team have developed and it’s exciting to watch. On the defensive side, Marcelo Silva holds down the line as a center back. He’s still relatively unknown, but we’re getting to know his style of play. He brings some tools to the table that Glad lacks, namely, he’s a big, physical player who isn’t afraid to have a hard challenge. This is a good quality to have in a CB and help our backline intimidate opposition. This might prove to be a fantastic partnership in the center back pairing.

On the other side of the field, we have Luis Silva. The 28-year-old has had an odd career. From 2012-2015 he netted 20 goals between his time at Toronto FC and DC United, but didn’t get any goals in his first stint with RSL nor during his year at Tigres. Now that he’s getting regular playing time, we’re seeing good things from him, including one goal and two assists. It’s hard not to compare him to Yura, who has six goals, but no assists. It seems like Silva has been able to help those around him, and if we can continue to see him help the whole of the attack, then that’s a great start. If he finishes some of his chances, even better.