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Sandy • What happens when your highest-paid player, your star goal-scorer, the guy leaned on to produce sounds off about his recent lack of playing time?
Let's just say Mike Petke has been in a situation similar to this before. And Real Salt Lake's coach doesn't seem all that bothered by comments from striker Yura Movsisyan in Seattle over the weekend.
"Anybody should be unhappy if they're not starting," Petke said bluntly after Tuesday's training session.
Movsisyan, after starting one match in RSL's three-game week, voiced his frustrations after the 1-0 loss in Seattle on Saturday afternoon, saying "It's a joke."
The 29-year-old forward who leads the team in goals this year with four backed up his own comments Tuesday.
"Obviously when you don't play, how can I be happy?" Movsisyan said. "That's just because I'm not playing, and that's plainly that."
Petke, hired in late March, said establishing relationships with players is not an issue for him. He referenced his time as coach of the New York Red Bulls, where he led players like French superstar Thierry Henry. It's been well-documented that Petke and Henry got off to a somewhat rocky start in Petke's first year as coach in 2013 in which the two reportedly had a dust-up at a training session.
"My expectations were laid out very clearly in the very first meeting, and it followed through on a daily and weekly basis," Petke said. "It's important for me to do that so players if they do have a gripe or they don't understand something that they have to look themselves in the mirror at the end of the day. That's not just talking about Yura, that's talking about everybody."
Movsisyan has four goals in 11 starts this year. Petke said he understands that Movsisyan isn't pleased with his role at the moment.
"I make the decisions and I don't look back on them at all," Petke said. "Every player here has an opportunity, and they have an opportunity on a weekly basis. And we're going to make the decision based on who we feel is going to play the best in that game or suited for how we're going to play in a game. That's all."
Not setting the alarm just yet
Petke isn't setting his alarm for 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. or 5 a.m. At least not yet. RSL's coach said he woke up Monday morning to watch the condensed version of the U.S. U-20 World Cup opener a dramatic 3-3 draw against Ecuador in South Korea.
"I'm hoping to watch one live," he said. "Once I hit the sack, which is late at night, there's no waking me up."
Brooks Lennon had an assist, while Danny Acosta started at left back. Sebastian Saucedo was a late sub in the. The U-20s next face Senegal at 5 a.m. MST Thursday.
"It's like I've said all along, it's great for us because it gives them such experience, it gives them confidence," Petke said, "and they're going to come back better players for us."
Savarino called up to play at home
RSL's newest dynamic playmaker has been called into the Venezuelan national team's friendly against the United States. Jefferson Savarino gets to stay home, too. The 20-year-old forward acquired three weeks ago was named to Venezuela's roster for the upcoming friendly against the U.S. at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday, June 3.
Philadelphia Union at Real Salt Lake
When • 6 p.m. Saturday
Where • Rio Tinto Stadium