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Sandy • Mike Petke put it on a tee for Yura Movsisyan.
The relationship between coach and highly paid goal-scorer was put to another test Saturday evening when Movsisyan came off the bench a spot he's made clear he's not too keen on being on game days and scored the game-winning goal against Minnesota United.
Afterward, Petke joked Movsisyan could use that moment as a chance to storm into his office and tell him off.
"No," Petke said after training Tuesday, "he didn't come and say the joke that I was joking about."
Movsisyan's fifth goal of 2017 added to his team-high tally this year, despite starting in only three of RSL's last seven regular-season matches. So why did the 29-year-old Designated Player not take Petke up on his offer to let him have it?
"I like my playing do the talking or the scoring I think we've talked enough," he said. "Obviously coach has his ideas, I have my own ideas. Sometimes they don't go together, but at the end of the day what's important is for us to get a win, and we got that."
Asked what led to Movsisyan's goal celebration, where he jogged around Rio Tinto Stadium with his index finger placed over his mouth as RSL fans celebrated, he responded, "Everything is natural."
"It's just sometimes there's certain things you want to do or you want to say and you just don't want to use any words for it," he said. "That's one of the ways to do it."
After explaining that Movsisyan had every right to tell Petke he was wrong Saturday night, RSL's coach didn't elaborate much Tuesday. "Yura and I, whether we talk or not, is between us, you know?" he said.
Are coach and star player still engaged in this weekly standoff? Petke and Movsisyan joked during a drill during training Tuesday, and the two walked to another portion of practice with Petke's arm on Movsisyan's shoulder.
Wherever the relationship is at the moment, it's clear the two are intent on working through it as RSL is engaged in working on leaving behind the struggles of the first half of 2017.
RSL right back Tony Beltran grew up with Movsisyan in Southern California and knows the forward better than most on the team. Beltran said he and Movsisyan held a conversation last week about Movsisyan's frustrations with his spot starts as of late.
"Yura is a competitor, Yura is a professional and he's going to be upset not to start," Beltran said. "But he's said from the beginning, whoever's in the best form, I'm OK with starting. We talked about [it]. It is what it is. We said, 'Alright, so when you come off the bench, because you're going to get minutes, come in and score.' And he came in and scored."
Petke and the RSL staff have started Luis Silva in four of the last seven in place of Movsisyan. The 28-year-old midfielder/forward was reacquired this offseason after spending a year in Liga MX with Mexican powerhouse Tigres. The former attacking midfielder learned there the ins-and-outs of the position from French international Andre-Pierre Gignac.
With starter Albert Rusnák still with the Slovakian U-21s at the European U-21 championships and never one to be afraid to try new formations, has Petke ever considered starting both Movsisyan and Silva together up top?
"Come in and look at my board we have 1,000 different combinations," Petke said. "We'll see what happens this weekend."
What will happen this weekend on the road at San Jose? Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, Movsisyan said he's happy the game-winner Saturday snagged three points for an RSL team desperately in need of confidence.
"Obviously for myself it's good to add on more goals," he said. "It's always nice to add on your numbers, but at the end of the day, you're here for the team. I'm supposed to score for the team."