When Real Salt Lake signed striker Alvaro Saborio on loan from FC Sion in early 2010, the team hoped it was getting a solid replacement for a key piece of its offensive puzzle after winning the 2009 Major League Soccer Cup.
It may go down as one of the best moves in Claret-and-Cobalt history.
Saborio has led Real in scoring in each of his three seasons with the Utah side, including a club-record 17 tallies this season in MLS action.
The Costa Rican international, who began his career with Saprissa of the Costa Rican Primera Division, is coming off his second hat-trick performance of 2012, the first player in team history to record two three-goal matches.
Yet, Saborio is surprisingly humble about his accomplishments with Real Salt Lake, even moving to deflect much of the credit for his three goals during Saturday's 4-0 win at Chivas to his teammates, and especially strike partner Fabian Espindola, who earned the assists on his first to goals.
"We worked hard to create chances and score; the midfielders did their job to get chances," Saborio said. "Very happy with the victory and performance of the team, and the win on the road."
In 92 matches against across all competitions, Saborio has scored 53 times, including 40 in Major League Soccer play.
He has 19 match-winning goals and 13 multi-goal matches in all competitions (15 and 10, respectively, in MLS action).
Even more impressive is the net effect that Saborio scoring brings, as the team is 30-5-5 all-time when he scores.
"(Saborio's) third goal was certainly something special," RSL boss Jason Kreis said after the win over Chivas. "I think the first two goals I saw him score, they don't get much easier than that. I think that he has to be very appreciative of the work that the players around him did to set those up, because those were both tap-ins. The performance by everybody tonight was very, very positive."
With Saborio's three-goal performance and Espindola's three-assist showing adding up to a commanding road win -- Salt Lake's first victory away from home in league play since June -- the team looks to be hitting its stride as it prepares for a grueling four-match gauntlet over the next 26 days.
"For whatever reason, we had a good night. We went out there with the right mentality, we tried to press on their half of the field early on and won some balls there and made things happen," Kries said. "All in all, our guys just really played well tonight."
And with both Seattle (0-0 draw at Vancouver) and Los Angeles (1-1 draw at Colorado) each dropping two points, Real moved back into second on the Western Conference table heading into Saturday's critical clash with the third-place Galaxy at the Home Depot Center.
"(Our mentality) is very positive," Saborio said. "We have to think that every game is a playoff game and keep it like that."
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