San Jose Earthquakes forward Cade Cowell entered the weekend dangerously close to going fourth months without a goal in Major League Soccer.

The 18-year-old homegrown ensured that wouldn’t unfold, netting his fifth of the year in dramatic fashion during a 4-3 win at Real Salt Lake on Saturday afternoon.

In his own half, Cowell collected a JT Marcinkowski throw in the 69th minute. Then the nitrous tanks kicked in, as he barged down the right flank before slicing between two RSL defenders and finishing outside-the-boot past goalkeeper David Ochoa.

Even though San Jose were already eliminated from the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, it was a magical moment from their young star as the 2021 regular season winds down.

"It's definitely important to finish off strong,” Cowell said postgame. “I try to play every game like this, so it was good to finally get back into it with a goal and assist today. That's always a positive."

Cowell now has five goals and five assists through 32 games (14 starts) this year, taking a big step forward during his third professional season. He featured in this summer’s All-Star Game presented by Target and earned the No. 7 spot on this year’s 22 Under 22 presented by BODYARMOR list.

While Cowell’s role has ebbed and flowed under head coach Matias Almeyda, the upside and potential are undeniable. He often flies past defenders to create chances, sometimes of the spectacular variety like his early-season line-cutting pass and golazo against FC Dallas (seen below).

Cowell’s perspective extends beyond a bright-eyed teenage prospect, too.

"We talked before the game. It was all about pride, all for the love of the game,” he said of the Western Conference spoiler victory. “We just wanted to play the game we love to play every day. It was all for ourselves."

Looking ahead, Cowell isn’t content with just being an in-and-out starter for San Jose. Rather, the US youth international wants his game to keep ascending.

"It's definitely a good year to see what I need to work on and what I need to do well in,” Cowell said. “I'm going to look back when it's all over and focus on the little things and try to get a better season next year and keep going up and up."