Saborio double leads RSL past Earthquakes

BY DARRELL LOVELL

It is not about how many chances you create, but what you do with them that counts. In a game that was dominated by the San Jose Earthquakes early, Alvaro Saborio’s ability to put away his chances late separated Real Salt Lake from the hosts in a 2-0 opening weekend victory.

The Costa Rican international struck twice in the 71st and and 85th minute to break a three game losing streak against the Earthquakes Sunday night.

Saborio’s first goal had a role reversal feel to it as the bigger of RSL’s two forwards was set up by the club’s smallest, and fastest. over the top. Newcomer Joao Plata hit a well placed ball from midfield over the San Jose defense to put the Saborio in on goal. The former 17 goal scorer then laced a 17-yard one-timer to the near post to beat Jon Busch and give the visitors a 1-0 lead.

Fourteen minutes later Saborio reiterated that he could capitalize on quality service, settling a deft over-the-top ball from Kyle Beckerman and and providing a calm finish under duress to seal the opening weekend victory.

Saborio’s finishes were a stark contrast to San Jose’s Designated Player and reigning MLS Golden Boot winner Chris Wondolowski. The San Jose striker had seven shots on the night but was consistently just off target. The closes the reigning MVP came closest to giving San Jose the lead in the 15th minute when he could not his 6-yarder down and Nick Rimando tipped the ball into the crossbar.

That miss would set the tone for the Earthquakes on the night at Wondolowski, Rafael Baca and Mike Fucito had chances to put San Jose ahead but of the club’s 17 shots, only two forced a save. It was a percentage that San Jose would not be able to overcome.

In the process of San Jose’s inept finishing, Rimando picked up the 100th clean sheet of his career.

RSL will travel to the nation’s capitol to take on D.C. United next Saturday while the Earthquakes stay in the Bay Area to host the New York Red Bulls next Sunday.

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16 Responses to Saborio double leads RSL past Earthquakes

  1. Kevin_Amold says:

    Fortunate win for RSL, I’d say, but a quality result for them that probably does wonders both inside the locker room and for the fans, who had to wonder if the Royals would really fall back to earth after trading away some really key contributors from seasons past.

    • Brian says:

      Folks who follow the club closely haven’t actually been too worried that the team would have a poor season this year. People have made a big deal about losing Olave, Espindola, and Johnson (and don’t get me wrong, these guy are great players), but Schuler, Gil, Valesquez, and others are more than ready to step in. Picking up Plata and Findley this offseason definitely helps fill the offensive void.

      • Kevin_Amold says:

        Wait, I follow the club closely and I was very concerned. Guess I’m an outlier. In any case, the win kind of calmed me down a bit.

  2. MA1 Rodriguez says:

    San Jose just needs that special DP from midfield could feed their forwards better, and control the tempo better.

  3. nanc says:

    That flick up by plata is the EXACT reason as an rsl fan I was stoked to see him come in on trade. He is quick, talented and incredibly intelligent on the ball. I see him stealing the starting role from findley rather quickly.

  4. Vinz Clortho says:

    RSL did just enough to weather the early storm. Certainly not the result I expected.

  5. Zac Mac says:

    After plata came on it was really night and day. RSL struggled before that, but dominated possession and got a ton of touches in the attacking third after he came on. Also, he owned Ty Harden. A foot shorter, but he shoved Ty over multiple times

  6. ex_sweeper says:

    Wondo has gone through times before when he gets tense and loses that magical ability to score off the slightest of chances. Mostly we’ve seen the striker-block for the national team, but there have been some dry spells for the Quakes also. He’ll pull out of it.

    • WK says:

      +1. He puts a lot of pressure on himself but the team also really depends on him to finish his chances. seven shots in one game? any other nite he’s got two goals.

      • Midas Whale says:

        They need Lenhart and Gordon back. I nearly spit out my coffee when I saw Fucito was starting next to him and I wasn’t even drinking any.

  7. Apple Pie says:

    RSL got stronger as the game went on and San Jose faded. I don’t think it’s fair to say that San Jose “dominated” the first half. They had their fair share of half chances but never looked threatening all night. Their best, clear chance came off a suspect, quickly-taken free kick where Wondo once again couldn’t do anything with great service. Wondo also had a deflected shot that was destined for the back of the net but was tipped just enough by Rimando. Plata is clearly the best option for RSL up top going forward. Plata is a great player and it’s a shame Toronto couldn’t utilize him. San Jose will be just fine. Half their team was missing due to injury and they were still only a few better finishes away from at least a point.

    • Brian says:

      RSL were missing three starters as well. Getting Borchers and Wingert back on the defensive line will help to shore up some of the miscues from last night. I’m also really looking forward to seeing a Beckerman/Valesquez/Gil/Morales midfield diamond once Javi gets healthy.

  8. chris_thebassplayer says:

    Frustrating game to watch with half the starters out. Kind of like time travel back to 2010. Wondo had plenty of looks on set pieces, but with this line up, he really is the only threat in the front 6. That is going to be a heavy burden and an incredible amount of pressure on him in the early part of the season. He needs to be able to get lost in a supporting cast of attackers to be effective. The Fucito/Wondo combo doesn’t work, it forces Wondo to play more as the target forward, due to Fucito not having the physical presence to win enough challenges up top. Salinas is incredibly hit and miss with his decision making. Nice to see Corrales get in the game, but with this line up, we probably would be better with Garza’s speed and attacking ability on the flank. The thin line up really pressurizes the shaky back line. Hernandez was beaten too easily over the top in a tight game. Honestly, in the short term I’d rather have Attakora come in, or bring Morrow’s recovery speed in the middle and take our chances with Corrales at LB. It will be interesting to see if Yallop pulls in the reigns and plays more defensive with such limited options in the attack.This team is not going to travel well if we don’t protect the back line…probably the only way to go to keep from digging ourselves a huge hole to start the season.

  9. Midas Whale says:

    I think I’ve officially confirmed it after seeing him in person in Houston for the Nats and in these highlights. Wondo is still terrible and now he’s overpaid.

  10. Chodilicus says:

    Very interesting game. Both teams missing many starters and some of the best players. RSL was missing 2 of their best 4 players in Morales and Borchers in addition to Wingert and Grabavoy as other starters. San Jose was missing some complementary attacking players in Lenhart and Gordan as well as their RB and Chavez. I don’t think either team was close to what they will look like at full strength. That led to the first half being quite choppy without much flow or good passing.

    As an RSL fan, I am really excited about the increased speed from Findley and Plata to stretch the field. Gil is going to be a beast this year. However, Khari Stephenson really struggled at the #10 spot and keeps the ball way too long. He does not yet understand the RSL system of quick passing and ball movement in the midfield. I almost see him as a potential backup forward option, but I don’t see place for him once RSL is healthy.

    What I would like to see is Plata play the top of the diamond midfield until Morales returns. He is really quick but also has nice vision and playmaking ability. Having him sitting behind Saborio and Findley would make RSL really, really dangerous. It may leave RSL a little short on the bench at F, but I actually like Plata in a deeper lying role. Even though Kreis loves his 4-4-2 diamond formation, this team would be awefully dangerous with a 4-3-3 formation with Findley and Plata on either side of Saborio. Love the increased speed on the field and want to see more of it.

    • chris_thebassplayer says:

      My unsolicited two cents, absolutely drop Findley and find a way to get both Velasquez and Morales in the midfield with Plata at drop forward beneath Sabo…you guys will be very happy. You’re right about Stephenson, he doesn’t fit your system at all.