Real Salt Lake notebook: Alvaro Saborio beginning to round into top form
Brian Nicholson, Deseret News
SANDY — Real Salt Lake striker Alvaro Saborio got off to a slow start this season as he worked his way back from offseason surgery, but he seems to be rounding into midseason form following his two-goal effort on Saturday night against FC Dallas.
His first goal was a fantastic header in traffic in the 59th minute, and his second was a driven shot that took a deflection off Dallas defender Matt Hedges in the 76th minute.
"I'm really pleased for Sabo. I know it's been a difficult stretch where he hasn't been scoring with the regularity that he would like or the fans would like. But he's been putting in the work, so I'm appreciative when someone like that continues to work hard and then takes his chances. I'm very, very pleased," said RSL coach Jason Kreis.
Combined with the two goals he scored against New England on May 5, he's now scored four goals in RSL's past four matches to move into the team lead with six.
"I'm happy about that, but I'm thinking now about doing a better job in Costa Rica," said Saborio.
Saborio leaves for Costa Rica today to join his national team in preparation for a pair of World Cup qualifiers on June 8 at home against El Salvador and at Guyana on June 12.
RARE START: With Chris Wingert not quite fully recovered from the hamstring strain he suffered in Seattle two weeks ago, the coaching staff gave the starting nod at right back on Saturday to first-year RSL player Terakazu Tanaka.
Tanaka's only other start was back on April 4 when he started and played 90 minutes in place of Wingert. That was also the only match Wingert has missed this year.
Kreis praised Tanaka after the match, and said he did very well to assist on Saborio's first goal.
"It was a very nice cross on his part and he did well to get around his defender to get to the service," the coach said.
SEASON DEBUT: Holding midfielder Yordany Alvarez also made a rare start on Saturday, his first of the season in fact.
He started in place of Kyle Beckerman, who is away with the U.S. National Team, and he filled in well at a position Beckerman's called home with Real Salt Lake since 2007.
"I thought he had a pretty strong night, especially in the first half. I thought he was breaking up a ton of plays in the midfield and was in the right spot a lot of times. Still can be a little cleaner on the ball for me," said Kreis.
QUICK TURNAROUND: After a two-week break between competitive matches, RSL jumps right back into action this Tuesday when it hosts the Minnesota Stars FC (NASL) in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium.
A year ago RSL beat the visiting Wilmington Hammerheads in the Open Cup third round only to fall to Dallas in the quarterfinals. RSL's all-time record in Open Cup competition is 4-7-1 and it's only advanced to the quarterfinals twice.
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