Sandy • Real Salt Lake veteran Kyle Beckerman didn’t start Wednesday night against the Houston Dynamo. When he came on in the second half as a substitute, he didn’t grab the captain’s armband traditionally wrapped around his arm.

In the end, he scored the winning goal in RSL’s 2-1 win at Rio Tinto stadium, a win that moves RSL for the time being into the top six of the Western Conference.

“Kyle is our engine,” RSL coach Mike Petke said. “Kyle is our leader. The work that he does — if I showed you guys the printouts of the workload that we track throughout the week, he’s far and above the hardest worker on this team. And I just needed to force a rest for him.”

Due to a jam-packed schedule with three MLS matches in eight days, followed by a mid-week U.S. Open Cup match before another league game, RSL rested several regular starters. One of the hardest for Petke to tell he was sitting, however, was Beckerman.

“This was the plan all along,” Petke said. “So for him to come on in that situation and not only hold down the fort a bit but get the winning goal was amazing.”

Petke was hoping that midfielder Sunday Stephen could play the entire match, but after playing a full game for the first time all season Saturday at Seattle, Petke saw him slowing as the match approached the 65-minute mark. Beckerman went in for him in the 64th minute.

Eleven minutes after Beckerman was on the field, Houston equalized. Houston’s Romell Quioto sent a cross six yards out from goal, and Dynamo forward Albert Elis flew in from the right side to deliver a sharp header across the face of the net and past goalkeeper Nick Rimando, who wore the captain’s armband in place of Beckerman.

RSL responded with a flurry of shots, and it was Beckerman’s that went in. On a 82nd-minute corner kick by RSL forward Sebastian Saucedo, midfielder Damir Kreilach chested the ball down near the left post, where Beckerman drove it into the back of the net.

“Damir called me off,” Beckerman said, “and credit to him, great composure in the box to just chest it down, and it laid there perfect for me.”

For RSL’s first goal, Brooks Lennon’s pass found Saucedo with open space in front of Houston defender Adam Lundqvist, who was making his MLS debut. Saucedo took advantage of the open space and split two Houston defenders with a pass into the penalty box, where RSL forward Luis Silva found open space and headed it in by Houston goalkeeper Joe Willis.