Real Salt Lake: Movsisyan with RSL -- but for how long?

Published July 8, 2009 10:49 pm
Team's top forward may go to Denmark before season's end.
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In a year where Real Salt Lake has endured a seemingly endless string of player suspensions and call-ups, Jason Kreis didn't hesitate Wednesday in calling this the most turbulent season of his short coaching career -- even if the season is a little short of the halfway point.

Kreis can now add the saga of Yura Movsisyan to his list.

With Movsisyan, RSL's top forward, having reached an agreement to join Danish Superliga club Randers starting in January -- following the expiration of his current Major League Soccer contract -- Real Salt Lake faces the possibility of losing one of its best offensive players before the regular season is done.

MLS has countered the initial offer, and is trying to keep the 21-year-old Movsisyan with RSL through the remainder of the season. Movsisyan, who spoke publicly with the media for the first time on Wednesday, says that he is waiting to see how things play out.

"No matter what is happening, I'm here in Salt Lake City right now," Movsisyan said. "My loyalties are to my teammates, and I don't care what anybody outside of the locker room thinks right now. There are chances for a lot of things, but I'm here right now."

Without Movsisyan, Real Salt Lake would be without perhaps its most dynamic offensive presence.

More alarming is the fact that a Movsisyan departure would leave RSL dangerously thin at the forward position with four players manning three spots -- one of them being Robbie Findley, who is still recovering from an injured ankle.

Kreis said that if Movsisyan were to depart before season's end, RSL would sign multiple players in order to supply his team with a bit of added depth.

But at the very least, Real Salt Lake is facing yet another distraction in a season where there have been many.

"I've always believed that the talent has always been there with Yura," Kreis said. "He's always been a great player. If he were to leave, at least one and maybe multiple players would have to be brought in. There is no way that four players in three positions will work. There are injuries and you've already seen that we can have suspensions."

Movsisyan's motivation for leaving Real Salt Lake are multiple. He says he has always wanted to play on the European stage and the move to Randers would afford him that opportunity. Plus, in talking to Randers executives, Movsisyan said that he's received assurances that he would play early and often, instead of coming in and sitting on the bench. That's a big reason that he signed the deal with a club that draws fewer fans than RSL does.

"I want to play, I'm very competitive when it comes to that," Movsisyan said.

On a personal front, Movsisyan and his wife are expecting a child in December, which he said makes it easier to move now, rather than staying until January. And when factoring that a January move would be the middle of the season in Denmark, Movsisyan said that he sees the benefits of making the change when the season begins.

"I didn't expect this at all," said Movsisyan, who makes about $71,000 a year in base salary under his current MLS contract. "This came up pretty quick. I had to make the right decision for me and my family. I think this would be a good move. Everyone wants to play in Europe. This would be the next step for my career."

tjones@sltrib.com" Target="_BLANK">tjones@sltrib.com

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