Real Salt Lake officially announced three international call-ups Thursday for the October World Cup qualifying matches.
As the Tribune reported last week, Joao Plata (Ecuador), Albert Rusnák (Slovakia) and Jefferson Savarino (Venezuela) all were selected to represent their respective national teams during the international break.
“All three are young players, and it’s very rare in that scenario where the spotlight is shared,” RSL general manager Craig Waibel said in a team release. “More times than not one player in a group like that will get overlooked, so it’s a credit to all three of them individually and as a group.”
Of the three, Rusnák and the Slovakia national team have the best chance of qualifying. Slovakia (5-0-3), currently in second place in Group F with 15 points, has yet to face Scotland (4-2-2, 14 points) and Malta (0-0-8) for a second time in group play.
The Slovaks beat both teams the first time around, 3-0 and 3-1 respectively.
Rusnák hasn’t missed a call for a qualifying match since he made his World Cup qualifying debut March 16 in Slovakia’s last matchup with Malta.
Plata is returning to the Ecuador national team for the first time since 2014. Ecuador’s current four-game losing streak puts its World Cup dreams on life support. It likely needs to win both of its remaining matches against Chile and Argentina and have the results around CONMEBOL go its way to advance.
Savarino, who made his international debut June 3 in a friendly against the United States, also was selected to the Venezuela national team’s World Cup qualifying squad for its September matches. He has yet to appear in a World Cup qualifying match. Venezuela, with only eight points, will not qualify to go to Russia next year.