In danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2007, Real Salt Lake made a major move on Thursday, trading club all-time leading scorer Alvaro Saborio to D.C. United in exchange for midfielder Luis Silva.
Saborio, age 33, has been one of the most prolific strikers in MLS since he joined the RSL in 2010, scoring 63 goals and notching 13 assists in 127 league appearances. Thursday’s move reunites the Costa Rican international with former RSL teammate, current D.C. Designated Player Fabian Espindola – the two combined for 65 goals and 21 assists in three seasons together on the Wasatch Front from 2010-2012.
Saborio scored at least 11 goals in all four seasons from 2010-2013. He hit the back of the net eight times last season despite missing four months and 16 games due to a broken foot that cost him a chance to play at the 2014 World Cup. He had three goals in 14 appearances for RSL this season.
Saborio will join D.C. following the conclusion of Costa Rica’s run at the CONCACAF Gold Cup – the Ticos will face Mexico in the quarterfinals on Sunday (7:30 pm ET, Fox Sports 1/Univision/UDN in the US, SN One in Canada).
“Saborio has been a proven goal scorer throughout his career, especially in Major League Soccer,” D.C. United general manager Dave Kasper said in a statement released by the club. “He’s a true No. 9 that will provide an immediate spark to our offense.”
Silva heads to RSL after spending the last two-and-a-half years with D.C. The 26-year-old was one of the keys to United’s 2014 renaissance, scoring 11 goals and notching four assists as the Black-and-Red finished atop the Eastern Conference regular season standings. He spent the first year-and-a-half of his career with Toronto FC, scoring five goals and notching seven assists in 44 league appearances for the Canadian club.
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Silva has struggled with injuries in 2015, scoring one goal in 14 appearances – only four of which have been starts – for United.
Neither player will have to wait long to face off against their former team, with RSL set to visit D.C. at RFK Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 1.