A big part of Real Salt Lake’s 2010 season while on loan last year, 28-year-old Alvaro Saborio became RSL’s big offseason signing with the expectation that he’ll be relied on just as heavily in 2011.
Unfortunately for the ex-Saprissa star, he still hasn’t fully recovered from an offseason knee surgery and hasn’t yet shown his form from last season, in which he scored 12 goals in MLS and six goals in the CONCACAF Champions League.
[inline_node:307629]“I think he’s close, [but] I don’t think he’s 100 percent,” said head coach Jason Kreis, who’s knows his star striker’s situation all too well. “I have a lot of history with knee surgery, so I know how he’s feeling.”
The RSL boss believes that the Saborío’s lack of full form is likely not a physical issue, but more of a mental barrier.
“I know that his confidence is still struggling a little bit, and that will be the last thing to come,” Kreis said. “His confidence in how he moves and how he comes down off of a jump and how he’s cutting and those sorts of things are probably a little bit away.”
During a midweek 2-2 tie against Sporting Kansas City, Saborío showed his nose for goal that characterized him as one of the league’s most dangerous scorers last season, putting away a rebound to tally the first goal of a match that was cut short due to a brief melee.
While that goal may have wet the Costa Rican’s appetite, Kreis believes that the upcoming CCL semifinal against Saprissa will be the fuel “Sabo” needs to get fired up and overcome his mental impediment.
With all eyes likely on Saborío when the two sides meet on March 15 and April 5, Kreis knows his striker’s sights will be set solely on his former team’s goal.
“I think he’s going to be particularly motivated,” said Kreis.