Carson, Calif. • He scored three goals, broke the team record for most goals in a season … and yet Alvaro Saborio didn't see himself as the "man of the match" for Real Salt Lake, in its 4-0 blowout victory over Chivas USA.
No, that honor belonged to Fabian Espindola, as far as Saborio was concerned.
The hard-working Argentine recorded three assists on the night, including passes that set up Saborio for his first two goals a free header and a tap-in, both within the first 11 minutes at the Home Depot Center on Saturday night. The second goal came after Espindola stole a pass in the Chivas penalty area, and found Saborio all alone in front of the net.
"Spectacular," coach Jason Kreis said.
But Saborio was equally dominant, recording his second hat trick of the season there have been only four in team history, and only three in league play to reach 17 goals in 31 games this year and break Jeff Cunningham's record of 16 set during a 32-game season in 2006.
"He is where he belongs," Kreis said, "second to none."
The Costa Rican international has scored 15 of RSL's last 24 goals in league play the team is 30-5-5 all-time when he scores and was back on the field after missing last weekend's victory over Portland with a shoulder injury suffered when he drew (and took) the game-winning penalty kick in a crucial Champions League game.
And while his first two goals against Chivas were easy by his standards, he showed a bit more skill with the third. After goalkeeper Dan Kennedy came off his line to stop RSL's Will Johnson in the 65th minute, the ball caromed out to Saborio near the top of the box, and he chipped it deftly over Kennedy, scrambling fruitlessly to get back in time to stop it.
Saborio almost had a fourth goal, too, but Kennedy stopped his second-half header from almost point-blank range.
"I just come to the game and try to score," Saborio said. "I don't think I try to score every game, I just try to play good and win."