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Sandy • When Craig Waibel sits face-to-face with a player during a pitch, that's when the Real Salt Lake general manager obtains the kind of information that just can't be had during an elongated phone call.

"When you sit down face-to-face with a player, they realize the seriousness of our interest and we're gauging where they are," Waibel said.

The RSL GM said his recent trip to Europe was a success, albeit the usual jam-packed, soccer-filled blur that is an international scouting jaunt. Waibel met with the two international Europe-based center backs the club has been targeting in recent weeks — a 29-year-old defender playing in Belgium and a 26-year-old defender playing in the Netherlands.

"We got a look at those guys, but we also went and watched two other games as well," he said. "We were able to cram a lot of soccer into a very, very short amount of time. [We were] able to get a good look at quite a few players and get a hands-on, in-stadium interpretation of the level."

Waibel said most of the trip was spent in the Netherlands and France. Travel plans took Waibel through Belgium via train the day before terrorist attacks at the Brussels airport and a local metro station claimed the lives of over 30 people.

Along with scouting players, Waibel said he spent time looking at various artificial surfaces and various training facilities while in Europe. RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen told the Tribune in late January of his plans to build a new training facility along the Wasatch Front in the near future.

The results of the trip won't change RSL's approach to signing the sought-after center back the club has craved since the offseason.

"The thought process isn't to go panic and do anything," Waibel said. "The thought process is simple: If we can improve, then we improve. But we do believe in the players on our roster and I think that's a message that's been lost somewhere in the way here is we believe in who we have. Obviously the results are going well now. They're not surprising us. They might surprise other people."

The winter transfer window closes May 11, but Waibel said RSL will not rush a signing considering the following summer transfer window opens two months later.

"The challenge now at this time of the year is, can you find the right guy that you can get in and does he satisfy all of the needs and desires that we have as a team versus if you wait two-and-a-half months and the bigger market of players will open up again," Waibel explained. "We're still very happy with some of the homework we've done, and we're still very interested in both of the players."

» Beckerman returns to USMNT starting lineup

After three straight World Cup qualifying matches on the bench, RSL captain Kyle Beckerman returned to the U.S. starting lineup in a pivotal match against Guatemala Tuesday night in Columbus, Ohio. The 33-year-old midfielder got the nod in the U.S.'s 4-3-3 formation Tuesday — his 52nd senior-team cap — following the team's 2-0 loss at Guatemala on March 25.

» Ovalle tending to personal matters

RSL Homegrown midfielder Fito Ovalle has been excused from team activities to tend to personal matters, Waibel said. The 18-year-old from Layton signed with the first team last March, but has yet to make his RSL debut. Ovalle was a key cog in the success of RSL's Arizona-based academy and has represented the Chilean national team at the U-20 level four times.

"Fito's sorting out some personal things right now and he'll re-join us when he's ready," Waibel said.

» Quote of the day

"He looks like Kurt Rambis." -Jeff Cassar on defender Chris Wingert who sported a protective face mask after suffering a nose fracture at Portland on March 19.

-Chris Kamrani

Twitter: @chriskamrani