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.