SANDY, Utah — When Alvaro Saborio first arrived at Real Salt Lake, he told MLSsoccer.com that he had nothing to prove — after all, he'd played in both the Olympics and the World Cup — but after a full season under his belt, he said he's confident he's lived up to his own lofty expectations.
"I came with the mentality to do things well, to put my skills on the field, and I think I've done well so far," Saborío told FutbolMLS.com.
Saborío has been justly rewarded for a breakout season by earning the league's Newcomer of the Year honor, beating out New York's Joel Lindpere and Thierry Henry for the nod.
“I’m happy because [the award] is really for all the team," Saborío said. "We also got Defender of the Year, so we have a lot to celebrate. I am happy with what I have done here in my first year here, so hopefully I can stay here next year and get more goals and more assists.”
The striker’s first year in the league saw him net 12 goals and four assists in 27 league appearances and another six goals in CONCACAF Champions League play. As a result, his teammates and coaches have raved all year about his approach to the game, but not just because of his stats. He does plenty off the ball, too.
WATCH: Álvaro Saborío highlights
“We expect our forwards to work very hard, and they don’t do that everywhere in the world,” head coach Jason Kreis said. “But he’s embraced that, he’s committed to it and he’s defending extremely well for us and that’s always going to help us.”
Saborío joined RSL on loan from Swiss club FC Sion. The arrangement expires in December, but reports suggest that all parties are interested in keeping the Costa Rican striker in Salt Lake.
“I am happy here," Saborío said. "I feel comfortable and we will see if I can stay here. [RSL] tell me they want to have me stay, and I want to stay. We have to wait and go forward in the negotiations, but we also have to wait and have conversations with [FC Sion].”
In perhaps a demonstration of his comfort in his new surroundings, the league's Newcomer of the Year will be undergoing knee surgery in Salt Lake this week. He will then stick around for several weeks to rehab.
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