Sandy • Striker Alvaro Saborio wanted to play.
He wanted to start for Real Salt Lake against the Portland Timbers on Saturday night, even though he sprained his shoulder just four days earlier and had been initially ruled out for at least two weeks. But then the team trainers told coach Jason Kreis that Saborio could be out the rest of the season if he somehow aggravated the injury against the Timbers.
"Then you're not playing," Kreis said he told his leading scorer. "We weren't going to take that risk. … This isn't the end-all, be-all game for us."
All's well that ends well, too, since RSL won 2-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium on goals by Fabian Espindola and Javier Morales, who hadn't been on the score sheet for three months while Saborio carried the team with 10 of its last 17 goals.
"He really, really wanted it," Kreis said. "And I have a tremendous amount of appreciation for somebody who really, really wants to get out there and help the team. But the right decision for the team was to not risk him."
Saborio initially was expected to miss at least two weeks, and possibly four, with the injury he suffered drawing a foul that led to a game-winning penalty kick against Tauro FC that kept RSL alive in Champions League.
But now it seems possible that he might be back to play at Chivas USA next weekend.
Players and coaches for RSL said they made a concerted effort to come out hard in search of an early goal, for good reason.
The team is 13-1-0 in league play this season when scoring first the only loss came at home to Los Angeles on June 20 and 2-10-1 when conceding first. The Timbers are 1-11-3 when allowing the first goal.
Against the Timbers, both goals came in the first 36 minutes.