Javier Morales is back.
At least RSL fans hope so. And judging from the performance against San Jose in Saturday, it’s looking promising [WATCH HIGHLIGHTS HERE].
To say that Morales’ 2009 campaign was a failure or that he was disappointing would be an overstatement. However, both the player and his coach believe he can bring more to the table. Morales had six goals and 15 assists in 2008. He didn't play poorly in 2009, but expectations coming into the season were high, and he managed just one goal and five assists.
When asked whether or not he felt he played up to expectations, Morales didn’t mince words, not even in his non-native English.
[inline_node:113110]“Yes, it’s ridiculous,” he told MLSsoccer.com. “Last year, I didn’t have a good preseason because I had a lot of issues and that was hard for me, for having my best performance. But this year I want to change that. I work hard in the preseason, and I’m ready for it. I’m ready for this year.”
Morales does seem to be ready for this season. His performance on Saturday was exceptional. He had two lasers that found the upper right corner of the net, one from 25 yards off of a bouncing ball in open space, and the other from a free kick at the edge of the box.
It’s a start, he said, because he has something to prove this year.
“Yes, but something to prove to me, not to somebody else,” he declared. “2008 was a great year for me, and in 2009 we get the championship, and this was a good year, but not good enough personally.”
With his creative ability and skill, the addition of a determined attitude for this season could be a good sign for the team in its quest to repeat as MLS champions. And his performance on the field on Saturday showed that it’s more than idle talk. His two goals, and supporting role in Fabián Espíndola’s goal—that’s potential Player of the Week material.
And while that may or may not happen, Morales has shown one thing: He’s back.