In Real Salt Lake's 1-0 loss to their Rocky Mountain Cup rivals Colorado Rapids on Saturday night, forward Álvaro Saborío had a match he would probably like to forget.
Saborío, who was listed as questionable on the team's injury report with a bruised knee and missed last weekend's match with the injury, struggled with his finishing, a sight rarely seen during his time with RSL.
The low-light of Saborío's stumbles was his ninth-minute penalty kick which was saved by Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin. Up to that point the Costa Rican international had been a perfect 12-for-12 from the penalty spot in MLS league play.
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"I know I never had missed a penalty here [with Real]," Saborío told reporters after the game. "But that is football, it happens. I need to refocus and be prepared for another penalty."
Throughout the course of the match, Saborío had other missed header attempts that he usually scores in his sleep.
"It was kind of that type of game where I played all night and I just couldn't score," Saborío said. "I feel bad because if I score that penalty, it is a different game."
The nightmare outing was capped by another golden opportunity blown when he put a third header wide in the 93rd minute from just outside the six-yard box.
"You get your chances, and there were a lot of them today, but the finishing wasn't there today. But that happens," said RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando in an ESPN700 AM radio interview.
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Saborío missed last week's win over Seattle at Rio Tinto Stadium due to the bruised knee he suffered while with his national team for CONCACAF World Cup qualifying in March. He had participated in training for most of the last week, and wouldn't settle for blaming the knee for his off night.
"It was unbelievable," Saborío continued. "I felt good getting to the ball, but it went to the 'keeper or wide, so I feel bad because we lost."
The loss may sting, but RSL players know they just need to continue to create chances for their star striker. After all, Saborío has a total of 43 career goals in 85 games. They know he is going to come through for them more often than not.
"We created chances. It's not that we didn't create chances and haven't been dominated yet," Rimando said. "So it wasn't a disappointing effort at all."
"I think we just didn't score," said RSL captain Kyle Beckerman to reporters following the match. "We created the chances, but just weren't able to put one away. I think on a different night, we do."
Michael Black covers Real Salt Lake for MLSsoccer.com.