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2017 Player Profiles: Yura Movsisyan

Yura had a cloud of controversy around him in 2017.

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Los Angeles Galaxy Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The RSL Soapbox contributors have spoken and Yura Movsisyan received a very low rating for a player of his caliber. While I personally did not rate him at a 4.5, it speaks volumes that he ended up toward the bottom of the list based on rankings from a group of fans paying very close attention. What happened?

When you ask RSL fans what their biggest gripe about Movsisyan is, the response most often provided is that he makes a guaranteed $1.9 million per season making him by far the highest paid player on the club. The complaint is that he does not earn what he’s paid, especially when compared to the players around him making much less.

The other complaint you hear quite often is that he is not a team player. There are other arguments as to why Yura does not deserve higher than a 4.5 including but not limited to being arrogant, being lazy, not being teachable, and being a distraction in the locker room.

While all of these arguments deserve a conversation and some if not all of them are at least in some part valid, there is a much more nuanced conversation to have about Yura Movsisyan and there are plenty of counterarguments to be made.

His most controversial moment came after Mike Petke had severely cut his minutes and he came on late to score the game-winner. His goal celebration was clearly directed at Petke, putting his finger over his lips to hush his critics and probably Petke’s criticisms of him.

At the end of the season, he ended up tied for most goals for Real Salt Lake alongside Albert Rusnak, Joao Plata, and Luis Silva. While seven is not going to get you in the conversation of MLS MVP, it is decent. And he scored seven goals with much less minutes played than the others. Would he have scored more goals with more time? It’s hard to argue that he wouldn’t have.

Yura came to RSL of his own volition and, according to Craig Waibel, decided to stay mid-season even after the alleged dust up with Mike Petke. He’s clearly a talented player that at the very least wanted RSL to succeed upon his return. He seems to get along with the players around him, at least when you see them interact on camera. For example, even though he has had some controversial goal celebrations, everyone seems to come together and bask in the glory of a goal no matter who scored it, Movsisyan included.

Wherever you come down on the issue and whatever is going on behind the scenes, we should all expect more from Movisyan based not on his salary, but his resume. There seems to be openness from both management and Yura himself on making something work, albeit on certain conditions. Your guess is as good as mine as to whether or not he’ll be with RSL in 2018.