This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Sandy • Sporting two completely different cleats, Yura Movsisyan anticipated what turned out to be pinpoint cross from Tony Beltran and finished easily with his left foot. Minutes later, Real Salt Lake's star striker pounced on a mistake in Thursday's training session, and coolly finished with his right.
The 29-year-old forward who has nine goals in 2016 has been beset by a severely bruised heel in his left foot, an injury that has kept the focal point of RSL's attack sidelined off and on for the last two weeks. Thursday was Movsisyan's first full day of training since he collided with teammate Justen Glad in training two weeks ago.
"It's crunch time," Movsisyan said. "It's just time to go through some pain."
So Movsisyan had two different boots on. The left provided a bit more wiggle room, more padding to relieve pressure of the usually-snug soccer cleat. He admitted afterward, "I wasn't going for the style. I'm going for comfort."
He's going to need plenty of that. The bone bruise, he's been told, is an injury that could demand a minimum of four weeks off and as many as eight to properly heal. But as Movsisyan said, it's indeed crunch time for RSL (12-11-9, 45 points), which has just two points in its last five matches as its hold on the No. 4 seed out West loosens with each missed opportunity.
Standing outside Rio Tinto Stadium, Movsisyan didn't display any discomfort, but the pain from the heel injury pops up during any movement. Walking, standing still or even on his toes, there's no escaping the ache. RSL coach Jeff Cassar called Movsisyan's performance in training Thursday, "a massive step forward."
Movsisyan had to receive an injection to battle the pain before coming on as a late substitute in RSL's 2-1 loss at San Jose last weekend.
"Today he didn't need it," Cassar said. "[We] got him sweating, got him involved, got him scoring some goals, which is nice."
Movsisyan can play through the annoyance of the pain, he said. The bigger issue now is working his way back to 90-minute fitness while dealing with the heel issue. He understands the risk of playing on a bruise, but said it was his choice to try and get back to training on a more complete basis this week.
"I wouldn't be out there if it was 12 games," he said. "We would be more cautious if it was 12 games, but these last [two] games, we need to win these games," he said. "Obviously I want to do everything I can to help the team out."
Glad called in, but not released
A surprising omission from the recent U.S. U-20 roster slated to face Germany, England and the Netherlands turned out to not be an omission at all. Glad, RSL's 19-year-old center back, was initially called in by U-20 coach Tab Ramos, but RSL chose to not release the promising young defender, Cassar confirmed Thursday.
"This is the time where he needs to rest his body and he's playing so much for us that we, as a club, couldn't risk it," Cassar said. "We were very open with Justen, very open with U.S. Soccer, but we've also got to do what's right for our club."
Glad has started 25 of RSL's 32 regular-season games this year, scoring two goals and notching one assist.
"Yes, he loses an opportunity to be with that team, but he's gaining a lot of experience in quality opponents," Cassar said. "We have no doubt that if he's taking care of business with us, he'll be involved in some capacity [in the future]."
RSL backup goalkeeper Jeff Attinella remains two to three weeks away from being involved at full capacity while dealing with a lingering elbow injury. Cassar said the 28-year-old keeper is progressing, but likely wouldn't be fit until the postseason.