There will be no celebrations from Real Salt Lake forward Alvaro Saborio should he score against his former club Deportivo Saprissa in the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals. It’s a club for which he admits still having some affection.
“They gave me so much like I gave them, I’m expecting mutual respect when we are there,” he said in a Sunday media teleconference call. “If I score a goal, I wouldn’t celebrate because of the teammates and the fans that supported me in the five or six years I was there.”
Real Salt Lake supporters should not take the statement to mean that their 2010-11 Champions League leading scorer will be any less focused at finding the back of the net against the Costa Rican side.
Saborío told reporters that he actually thinks Real Salt Lake are the favorites in the series against "The Purple Monster."
[inline_node:316270]“I will play the same as I would against any team, and yes I would like to score,” he said. “I’m always thinking about scoring and helping to pull out the win.”
His friends will be many on the other side of the field when the two teams match up over two legs on March 15 at Rio Tinto Stadium and April 5 in San José, Costa Rica. It should come as little surprise given that he started his career at the club and spent six seasons in purple.
It’s the same team that allowed him to train and keep in shape after things went sour at Bristol City and Sion were looking to offload him early in 2010.
“I have friendships with them and it’s not going to change [with this series],” he said.
Saborío’s familiarity should turn out to help RSL in devising their game plan for Saprissa. The Costa Rican international forward pointed out how Walter Centeno continues to turn up in clutch moments and that forward Armando Alonso has scored key goals.
Saprissa are a team that has been playing official matches since January and on Sunday captured a 2-0 road win against the second-best team in Costa Rican league play, Limón FC.
It’s also, worth noting is that including the Champions League, won six of seven games at Estadio Saprissa by the score of 15-0. The lone blemish came in a 3-0 loss to Limón FC.
“It’s important to make home field count,” Saborío said. “We hope to get an advantage in [the] US and go there with a comfortable score line. Then we’ll look to make it hold up. We’ll never give up on the attack and how the team plays.”
The soon-to-be 29-year-old says he’s fully recovered from offseason knee surgery and that there have been no setbacks to report during the preseason. That’s good news for RSL, who hope to become the first MLS club to win the new format of the CONCACAF Champions League and advance to the FIFA Club World Cup.
Saborío has already tasted what it’s like to do both during a magical 2005 with Saprissa. Now he’s just four matches away from getting their again.
“It’s a goal that I’d like to fulfill,” he said. “I would like to get back to the Club World Cup and we are in a position to do so with my team. If I can help with goals I will.”
RSL bring in another forward
Real Salt Lake welcomed former New York Red Bulls forward Conor Chinn for his first training session with the club on Saturday.
The club will be evaluating the player, who was released by New York last week. Chinn is expected to travel to Arizona with the club on Monday as they wrap up preseason training.
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