This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The kid cracks wise, joking that he'll remember the goal more spectacularly than it was.
"It was obviously a screamer from about 35 yards out, two guys on my back, keeper didn't have a chance," he deadpans. "That's how I remember it at least."
The reality is less grandiose. Jordan Allen's goal against Italian power Inter Milan earlier this month was a case of right-place-right-time, with the ball landing on the Real Salt Lake man's foot and squirting past the keeper.
There's no need, however, to exaggerate the feeling of celebrating in the corner of the field with one of his best friends.
"That stuff stays with you your whole life," RSL center back Justen Glad says.
Glad and Allen, two of the youngest members of Real's first team, plan on making a lot of those memories in the years to come. Major contributors at ages 19 and 21, they are both RSL's present and its future.
"If they can keep going," general manager Craig Waibel says, "they can be special."
Just a few years ago, Allen and Glad were both at RSL's youth training academy in the Arizona desert. But that's not where their friendship blossomed. At the academy, a two-year difference in age is sizable. That's not the case in a Major League Soccer locker room.
"Once we got here, [our friendship] was pretty immediate because we were the two younger guys on the team," Allen says.
Since signing homegrown deals with the club in 2014, the two youngsters have spent most of their days together on the field proving their worth and most of their time off it growing closer. Away from Rio Tinto Stadium, you can often find them hanging out, battling each other in hotly contested games of ping pong.
"I mean, it's pretty obvious I win," Allen says when asked.
"So he's a liar," Glad refutes later. "I don't want to say I'm the champion, but if you're looking at the record, it's numbers, you can't really argue with stats."
The stats on the field don't lie either.
Allen has played in 15 of RSL's 21 league games, starting eight of them. The Swiss Army knife plays all over the field and is fifth on the team with three goals on the season. Glad has started 16 games for RSL, helping shore up a position many suspected would be RSL's weakest heading into the season. The team has given up 20 goals in the 17 games Glad has started and 11 in the four games he has not.
With the transfer window open through Aug. 3, Waibel says he would still like to add some depth at the center back position. But after coming into the season with questions about both youngsters, the general manager says, "both of them have answered a lot of those questions."
Waibel knew both players were talented long before he came to the club. While working at the University of Michigan and later at the University of Washington, Waibel tried to recruit both of them. Neither returned his emails.
"I got blanked by both of them," he says.
Now the general manager can better appreciate their choices.
But while RSL officials have high hopes for both players, their youth is still apparent.
Allen is mildly obsessed with Pokemon Go, having caught 78 and climbing of the game's 151 creatures. (Glad won't indulge, for the record. "If I download that app," he laughs, "there goes my whole life.")
And, on the field, they have made the mistakes of youth.
As Glad gives an interview, his coach interrupts to rib him.
"You guys talking about his own goals?" Jeff Cassar cracks. "Justen, you talking about your own goals or the goals you scored? Which ones?"
Then the coach is quick to heap praise.
"He meshes well with every age group on our team," Cassar says. "He meshes well with every nationality on our team. He gets along with everybody. … The only thing I want to encourage is for him to express himself and feel like a veteran and hold himself like a veteran. Because that's his next step in maturing as a player and taking on that leadership role."
For now, Glad and Allen are willing to take their lumps.
"Sometimes you need something like that from the older guys," Allen says. "If you're not up to the standard, they'll let you know. I think that's important for our development."
The returns on their development have been steady since both started with RSL's youth academy. This week, Allen and Glad were starters among four RSL players to participate in the league's Homegrown Game, essentially a showcase of its locally produced, rising stars.
"They've given them a chance," says Freddy Juarez, who coached both players at the youth academy and now coaches the Real Monarchs, RSL's minor league affiliate. "A lot of times, that's what a young player needs, a vote of confidence from their peers and their coaching staff and they've run with it."
Right back Tony Beltran, 28, is an eight-year MLS veteran who has embraced their youthful presence on the team.
"I think in years past, when they were younger, you could see the potential just in terms of raw quality," Beltran says. "Jordan's such an imposing athlete and Justen was always so technically sound. The reason why they're doing well this year, and most impressively why they're consistently doing so well, is just because with the academy system and them coming to us at such a young age, they're educated very quickly on how to be a professional and what it takes to play at a high level consistently over a long year."
It doesn't surprise Waibel that the veterans have taken to Glad and Allen.
"The locker room will always accept a good soccer player with a good mentality," he says.
But for the youngsters, being able to lean on each other has been important as they've transitioned from high school locker rooms to the pros.
"It's definitely been nice to have someone who can relate with me," Glad says, "who's in the same situation as I am."
Together, they've taken on the lows and embraced the highs.
Earlier this year, Glad and Allen shared their best memory of their young careers together, when Glad assisted the attacker on one of his goals against Houston.
"We always look at the pictures after the game," Allen says. "It's just really all about the experience. To be able to do that with one of your best friends, it's really cool."
Jordan Allen career MLS stats
• Games played: 40
• Games started: 19
• Goals: Four
• Assists: Three
Justen Glad career MLS stats
• Games played: 24
• Games started: 22
• Goals: One
• Assists: One