This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Sandy • Real Salt Lake assistant coach Tyrone Marshall jogged down the sideline in the 69th minute, having received instructions from coach Mike Petke to get RSL's first substitute of the night ready.
Marshall made it halfway down toward the northwest end of Rio Tinto Stadium when he pointed at the swarm of players warming up.
Yura Movsisyan saw Marshall, pointed at himself, then pointed at teammate Ricardo Velazco in confusion. But Marshall kept his finger focused on Movsisyan, and the RSL Designated Player sprinted to the bench.
In the 70th minute, Movsisyan, RSL's leading scorer, trotted onto the field to give some spark and provide a glow the RSL faithful desperately needed. Fourteen minutes later, as RSL and Minnesota United waited for a potential handball decision from referee Marcos de Oliveira off an RSL corner kick, Movsisyan stayed tuned in.
And a simple tap-in drastically changed the mood of not only RSL's star forward, but maybe the franchise.
Movsisyan's game-winner in the 84th minute propelled RSL to a 1-0 win on Saturday evening. After the goal left everyone in the stadium in a momentary daze, Movsisyan celebrated, backpedaling around the stadium holding his finger over his mouth.
"That was total confusion, but I didn't care," Movsisyan said. "A goal's a goal. It was right in front of me. I had to put it away. A lot of times, that call goes against you. This time, it went for us. That's all I care."
On the other side of the field inside the coach's box, Petke missed the goal. He was giving the fourth official a mouthful, arguing that the header from Justen Glad across the box off an RSL corner kick hit the arm of Minnesota defender Francisco Calvo.
In an instant, the pent-up frustration from the 29 shots on the night nine of which were on goal evaporated. And perhaps most important, might've given a kickstart to the goal-scorer RSL will need to depend upon if this hike up the Western Conference standings can continue.
"A lot of things have been said about our team and our players," Movsisyan said, "but we still believe in each other. Everybody that is in this locker room believes in each other and that's the most important thing for us."
When Petke informed Movsisyan he wouldn't start Saturday night, he told him that he'd love nothing more than to be proven wrong, to be on the receiving end of a hefty I-told-you-so Sunday morning. Movsisyan hasn't shied away from voicing his frustrations after coming off the bench in four of RSL's last seven matches. Last month, he called his role "a joke."
"I would want nothing more than that," Petke said. "And I hope he comes in tomorrow morning and slams the door and says that to me, and that's the God's honest truth."
Speaking on the multitude of chances RSL created from Joao Plata, Luis Silva, Jefferson Savarino and Brooks Lennon, Petke equated Movsisyan's odd game-winning goal to finding a golden ticket in one of Willy Wonka's chocolate bars.
"Then the unlikeliest of goals happened," he said, "so we'll take it any way it happens."
No contention there.
R Yura Movsisyan comes off the bench to score the game-winner
• Center back Justen Glad makes his 2017 debut after missing the past four months due to a knee injury and international duty.
• RSL wins its third straight home match.