Gold Cup: Saborío gets green light as Costa Rica kick off

DALLAS — It’s no secret Álvaro Saborío has been carrying a knee injury for the last couple of weeks as his recent performances have hindered Real Salt Lake’s attacking power. Still, now with Costa Rica, the forward has been looking sharp and it seems as though he’ll be able to shine for Los Ticos.

Saborío, who played all 90 minutes of Costa Rica's 1-0 friendly victory over Nigeria last Sunday, also trained normally with his national team on Friday night as the team prepares to open its participation in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Even after looking a little rusty through certain moments during training, Saborío reassured FutbolMLS.com that his knee has finally healed, even though he admitted that he’s still receiving some special treatment after playing.

“I’m good, I’m still recovering and I’m conscious that I have to put in some extra work to keep my knee strong,” said Saborío.

After going through physical exams, the RSL striker was clared to play by Costa Rica’s medical staff, and he will be available for the first match of the tournament against Cuba on Sunday (6 pm ET, Univisión).

“Sure, I can play," he said. "I’m OK to play and I hope that I can contribute with a lot of goals. I don’t [have pain], but I have to take special care during my free time.”

Joining Costa Rica for the Gold Cup has come at the right moment for the forward, who has had some disappointing times with Real Salt Lake, ever since they lost the CONCACAF Champions League final against Monterrey. From that moment on, the MLS club has dropped its form, losing its unbeaten streak in MLS and, in the process, a 29-game undefeated streak at home.

Now with Costa Rica, Sabo hopes to regain his confidence once again.

“Now that I’m here, I hope to give all my support for the sake of the national team”, he said. “We are very motivated and we know that we need to take a good first step. [The expectations] are high, we want to make history, we want to reach the finals and win the title.”

Ready to face Cuba, Saborío believes that Costa Rica has what it takes to reach the late stages of the tournament.

“We’re motivated," he said. "This is a good team, it’s a team full of young players who want to do things the right way and leave the name of our country in the highest esteem. I hope we have a good start and I hope we win.”