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Goal Breakdown: Yura Movsisyan, Demar Phillips combine for game-winner over Houston

Yura Movsisyan scores Real Salt Lake's game winner on Saturday.
John Engels

Real Salt Lake's game-winning goal against Houston Dynamo from the feet of Yura Movsisyan was a perfect example of what can come when your attacking players all get on the same page.

Let's break down the goal, paying particular attention to the movement that enabled it.

First, the play starts from a good pass by Kyle Beckerman. it's not too complicated, but he's done well to spot an opportunity to splay the ball wide — and that's been allowed by Houston without too much trouble, given their midfield is a bit out of shape. Regardless, the play doesn't stop here — you can see that Demar Phillips is leaving the ball for Juan Manuel Martinez while continuing his own run.

You can also see Jordan Allen, having tucked in from his wide-right position, is treading into the territory where Javier Morales would have been — but Morales has drawn a midfielder out of position to open space in a dangerous position. Obviously, Jordan Allen doesn't have the ball yet, but he's anticipating that option, and he's ready the space extraordinarily well.

Here, we get to see exactly how on-the-same-page these three players are. Martinez has fed Jordan Allen, and Allen has immediately turned his attention toward Phillips' bursting run down the left side. Movsisyan is watching that same run, which is important.

One thing we haven't annotated here: Javier Morales. He's almost disappeared in this screenshot, and though you'll see him in the next one, his presence is vital. He's basically pulled one defender to him, opening space for the Yura Movsisyan run that comes next.

Before we get too far, we need to take a quick pitstop. Owen Coyle, Houston Dynamo coach, accused the referee of missing Demar Phillips' offside-ness. We should, however, wonder if that was the case, and if he indeed was, how offside he could have been.

This screenshot is basically timed right — Jordan Allen is releasing the ball with a little bit of a loft, so we know this is positioning at the time the ball is played. I've drawn a few lines on here, and they basically are echoes of the existing lines on the pitch (I'm not doing any of that fancy geometry here; don't worry). I believe this basically lines up with Phillips' furthest point forward — that's where his left leg is, and it seems like he's pushing forward with that one first. We can also see a Dynamo defender in a similar position — but is it enough to keep Phillips onside?

There's no real answer here, but while Coyle has a right to be aggrieved, we can't say with any certainty whether he's correct or not. There's no reason the assistant referee here would have any better evidence than we do, and it looks to me like Phillips has simply timed his run perfectly.

With that out of the way, let's continue.

I've stopped this frame at basically the first point where we can see Movsisyan starting his run. It's a strong one, and he's barely edging out the defenders on it — it's a game of margins, after all, and Movsisyan has won the margin here.

Additionally, the run of Demar Phillips is good, but his cross is even better. Note the goalkeeper here: He's basically lost, trying to decide where he should place himself. Should he position himself to pick up the cross? Probably, but the fact that he doesn't means that Phillips has free reign. He's going to aim to place the ball just before the goalkeeper's reach — that would allow Movsisyan the best chance to score if he's able to get into the right position.

The quick answer? Yes, Movsisyan got into the right position. He burst past two defenders, he moved to the near post outside of the goalkeeper's influence, and he gets goal-side on the closest of the two defenders. And, of course, he wasted no time in dispatching the goal. It was a difficult finish, as he had to get in front of two defenders, and he had to get to the ball. He does all that, and he still manages to finish.

Interestingly, if Movsisyan hadn't scored that, it seems probable that Houston could have taken care of it for us with an own goal — that's the value of a good run and an even better cross. Phillips deserves a hefty share of the credit for his cross, because that's a difficult one to place — and after a rocky 2015, seeing this sort of influence gives us reason for hope. And Movsisyan? Well, getting his second goal on the season could help give him the boost he needs to dispatch more goals as the season trudges forward.