SANDY — For the first time in more than two months, Real Salt Lake had the luxury of having its highest-paid player in the starting lineup.
RSL striker Alvaro Saborio was in the starting 11 in his club's 2-0 win over Seattle on Saturday night, his first start since going 90 minutes against Chivas USA on April 20 — 10 games ago.
Saborio played 90 minutes for Costa Rica in a World Cup qualifying match Tuesday, and RSL coach Jason Kreis was happy to have the striker back in the lineup for his club team.
“Pleased to have him back. I thought he was pretty sharp on the ball; made good decisions with his passes; nearly had an assist or two in the game; got around pretty darn well; worked hard for the team,” said Kreis.
“He’s probably not so pleased 'cause he feels he has to score all the time. I don’t. I think he was a major contributor to the success the team had and a major contributor to three points tonight.”
Ironically enough, despite Saborio’s extended absence because of injury and national team duty, RSL’s attack flourished. In all competitions, Real Salt Lake scored 25 goals between the Chivas match in April and Saturday's match against Seattle.
Despite not starting, Saborio scored one of those 25 goals during a 28-minute substitute appearance on May 25 against Chicago.
HIGH PRAISE: Kyle Beckerman’s first-half goal helped set the tone for RSL’s shutout victory Saturday, but it was everything else he did that won the praise of his teammates.
“Kyle Beckerman was unbelievable today. He’s the man of the match both sides of the ball. He won everything; he was on the right side winning balls; he was on the left side winning balls; he was always in the right spots and always composed on the ball,” said RSL defender Nat Borchers. “When you have a guy like that and a leader like that who brings his A game, we’re not going to lose games.”
It was also a record-setting night for Beckerman.
RSL’s captain committed two fouls Saturday, which moved him into a first-place tie in MLS history with Jesse Marsch with 447 career fouls.
His second foul earned him a yellow card, which makes moves him into a tie with Mike Petke as the second-most cautioned player in league history with 69. Ironically enough, Beckerman’s former Colorado teammate Pablo Mastroeni owns the record with 80 career yellow cards.
SALCEDO STREAK CONTINUES: Several days after Kwame Watson-Siriboe had season-ending knee surgery and Chris Schuler continued to hobble around in a walking boot because of lingering concerns with his foot injury, RSL 19-year-old center back Carlos Salcedo stepped in and was excellent once again.
Real Salt Lake is now 4-0 in league play and 1-0 in U.S. Open Cup play when Salcedo starts.
“We played against one of the best teams in the league, and after you play against those types of players up top your confidence goes up,” said the soft-spoken, humble teenager.
Salcedo will see plenty more starts in the weeks and months ahead, and that confidence should only grow.
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