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What would a Yura-less RSL look like?

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With the rumors swirling around about a potential Yura trade, we’re looking at what effects the move would have on RSL as a club.

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Minnesota United FC Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

So, by now you’ve likely heard the Yura rumor going around the Twitter-verse this morning. If not, let’s take a quick second to catch you up to speed.

Paul Tenorio from FourFourTwo tweeted this morning about a rumor which involves RSL in discussions for a Yura Movsisyan trade, with the LA Galaxy as one possible destination.

Now that this rumor is out there, it begs the question: what would this mean for the team? Whether you’re on the pro-Yura or anti-Yura side these days, this would have immediate ramifications for the club, both potentially good and bad.

Salary cap

This is the obvious one. Since Yura is a Designated Player making roughly $1.9 million in his contract, his weight against RSL’s salary cap is at the maximum, which is $480,625 in 2017. Offloading Yura would free up a bunch of space in the salary cap as well as one of their three DP slots.

There are a lot of ways that RSL could go about this — whether they trade straight across for another domestic player (ala the Saborio/Silva swap in 2015), trade for GAM/TAM, trade for international slots or draft picks, or a combination of any of these options.

Room for more players

With more flexibility in the salary cap, this means RSL would be able to bring in another DP in his place if they so choose, or sign one or two more players whose salaries combined would equal the space they have.

But who?

My gut tells me they’re not going to want to replace Yura with another DP in the same salary range. With Yura’s 6-goal performance so far this season, his quality so far certainly hasn’t matched what he’s being paid. There are plenty of players who we could all be excited about, but there are honestly too many to list and speculate about at this point.

That being said, if there’s any truth to the LA Galaxy part of the rumor, I’m sure we all can think of a player or two we wouldn’t mind seeing sent our way — Gyasi Zardes, anyone? Maybe RSL’s angling to get Emanuel Boateng off their squad so we don't ever have to play against him again. Although, on second thought, after the 6-2 win, that may be unnecessary going forward; but I digress.

Depth players get more minutes

RSL could even choose to not sign anyone new in his place at all. Lately, Petke has been opting to start Luis Silva over Yura at center forward anyway, and he’s not been doing a terrible job. In addition, Jefferson Savarino may have just outright won a starting spot on the wing with his impressive two-goal performance against the Galaxy, so Lennon could easily be moved to center forward also.

Combine those two with a healthy Chad Barrett, and we’ve suddenly got some depth at target forward.

Is that enough to carry the team’s attack going forward, though? This is a question I’ve been struggling with in light of Yura’s underperformance this season, and I’m not completely sold that our existing backup strikers would be the answer. Though there’s a reason I’m not an MLS coach, and Mike Petke is.

Fan excitement and backlash

There’s no doubt that there’s a solid section of the fanbase who’s been calling for Yura’s spot all season long. I imagine if this rumor turns out to be true, it’d cause a mass wave of excitement among this group of people, as well as fear and uncertainty going forward for the other side of that coin.

Moves like this always seem to completely divide the fanbase (again, see the Saborio/Silva trade), but it also spurs some interesting conversation and exciting speculation about who the next incoming player will be, especially when RSL looks to move a player with a price tag as big as Yura’s.

Rumors are rumors until they’re not

Earlier today, RSL assistant GM Elliot Fall joined Bill Riley on ESPN 700 to talk about all things Real Salt Lake, and unsurprisingly he declined to comment on any validity to the Yura rumor.

“There’s rumors every day that come out about players all over the league . . . we don’t comment on rumors like that.”

“Yura is a veteran, key part of our team. He’s our leading scorer right now . . . we expect Yura to continue with our group and perform when he’s called upon.”

Until we hear official word otherwise, all we can do is have a conversation and speculate about what might or might not happen. While this one came from a pretty reputable source in Paul Tenorio, it’s still just a rumor.

Want to weigh in on the Yura discussion? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!