From team centerpiece to waiver wire: how Yura Movsisyan and RSL didn’t work out

Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune Real Salt Lake forward Yura Movsisyan (14) celebrates after scoring a goal, in MLS soccer action, Real Salt Lake vs. Portland Timbers, in Sandy, Friday, June 18, 2016.

Former Real Salt Lake striker Yura Movsisyan made his position clear after the 2017 season:

“Being at stage that I am, I’m not going to come back and sit on the bench again,” he said at his exit interview. “For sure I can say that that’s not going to happen.”

He stayed true to his promise. RSL general manager Craig Waibel confirmed reports, first by mlssoccer.com and then by The Tribune, that the club waived Movsisyan last week.

“It’s been a very open dialog between us,” Waibel said Tuesday. “In the end it’s just not the right fit to keep him here, and we all agree on that, Yura included. So this will free up maybe some more options for him.”

Movsisyan has cleared waivers and has the option to pursue a buyout with RSL.

“He shouldn’t be done playing; he should play,” Waibel said. “Every athlete is happiest when they’re playing, and as an organization we have no interest in this being the final page of the book he’s written. He’s had a very storied career.”

The Armenian striker’s first stint with RSL was from September 2007 through 2009. Movsisyan scored eight goals in 2009 to propel RSL to an MLS Cup victory. He left for Europe shortly after and returned to Real Salt Lake in 2016 on loan from Spartak Moscow.

The nine goals he scored in 29 matches that 2016 season earned him a three-year contract with RSL, which included a club option. He was guaranteed $1,973,750.00 in the first year of his contract, according to figures released by the MLS players union.

“I knew from Day 1 that I wanted to make this a permanent move," Movsisyan told The Tribune in October 2016. "I didn't want to wait until December, because I wanted to get this thing done and squared away."

As the 2017 season progressed and the team evolved under RSL coach Mike Petke, Luis Silva challenged Movsisyan for his spot. As Movsisyan’s playing time decreased, he called it “a joke,” but said he’d keep working hard.

Movsisyan did not report to preseason with RSL, which the club explained by saying it was searching for a solution that was best for both Movsisyan and Real Salt Lake.

Six players with Monarchs for the weekend

Brooks Lennon and Jose Hernandez were among six first-team players who joined the Real Monarchs in California for a scrimmage against Sacramento State on Saturday, won 4-0 by the Monarchs.

“We wanted those players to match us in 90 minutes,” Petke said after training Tuesday, “so that when they’re called upon — which could be as early as this week coming up — they’re not behind the 8-ball, fitness-wise and sharpness-wise.”

Petke emphasized there was “nothing to read into” his decision to not take Lennon to Dallas.

“Brooks has done a great job this preseason,” Petke said, “and he’ll be in 18s, and be starting at some point.”

Injury update

Jefferson Savarino and Demar Phillips, who both left Saturday’s match with cramps, returned to training Tuesday.