Tom Smart, Deseret News
SANDY — Alvaro Saborio sure picked a strange time to express his displeasure for being subbed off on Saturday night.
With RSL leading Dallas 1-0 in the 88th minute and on the verge of a hugely important victory at the midway point of the season, Saborio walked right off the field and up the Rio Tinto Stadium tunnel when he was replaced by Jean Alexandre.
RSL coach Jason Kreis could be seen yelling at Saborio as he marched up the tunnel.
All match Kreis was hoping to find a good spot to sub Saborio off to rest him for this Tuesday's U.S. Open Cup match in Dallas. That moment finally came in the waning minutes.
"I thought about minute 80 he looked really tired. The decision was made to get him some rest for Tuesday. He obviously wasn't pleased with it, and I don't really have any comment past that," said Kreis.
For a team that hasn't had much internal drama in quite some time, Saborio's antics are an interesting development.
When asked if Saborio's actions were disrespectful to the team, RSL midfielder Will Johnson had some interesting thoughts.
"That's something Jason will handle. That will be between Sabo and Jason. Sabo is a team player, he plays with a lot of passion. I've done the same thing on this team. It's not the right thing to do," said Johnson.
"He's a massive part of this team, and he's a team player. We all make mistakes at times. He's a massive part of this team, and we need him to be committed, and hopefully that's the case."
UP FOR THE CHALLENGE: Dallas midfielder Brek Shea came into Saturday's match as arguably the hottest player in MLS having scored in four straight games.
He left Rio Tinto Stadium wondering who that masked defender was who harassed him all night. It was of course Tony Beltran, who arguably has been Real Salt Lake's best player over the past month.
"Brek is a fantastic player, he's part of our youth movement for the national team ... so I knew I had to be extra focused coming into this game and just really be on my game defensively. It was a tough match, but I thought I handled him well," said Beltran.
Time after time during their individual battles up and down the right flanks, Beltran got the better of the U.S. international.
"I just got to be smart where I'm setting up positionally all the time and the tackles I'm going in for and the time I'm just standing him up and trying to get a 2 v. 1 defensive shape happening.
LOOKING AHEAD: With such a short turnaround to Tuesday's rematch between RSL and FC Dallas in the U.S. Open Cup, Beltran was asked if Saturday's victory gives his team the edge.
"Maybe we have a little bit of a mental edge, but the thing is you're traveling to Dallas now and we've struggled there historically, it's a very tough place to play, especially this time of year," he said.
To be specific, RSL is 0-9-1 all-time in Dallas. That lone tie, however, came in May and that's the result midfielder Will Johnson prefers to reflect on instead of the previous nine losses.
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