SANDY, Utah – Jordan Allen picked a heck of a time to score his first career goal.
The 19-year-old midfielder/forward came to Real Salt Lake’s rescue on Sunday night, scoring the game-winner in the 89th minute to secure a 2-1 victory over Toronto FC in front of a record-breaking crowd of 20,794.
The goal was a long time coming for Homegrown signing, who endured a difficult first year as a pro last year. After getting off to a promising start and playing in both of RSL’s first two games of 2014, the University of Virginia product suffered a knee injury early in the season and missed the rest of the campaign.
He didn’t return to the field until this preseason, playing in both of RSL’s first two games of the new year before becoming the hero on Sunday.
“I think I blacked out for like half a second just because there’s so much adrenaline and it was just a moment that I’ve been waiting for, for so long,” Allen said after the match. “It was really just a great goal for me personally and for the team also, to get three points.”
Allen, who had entered the match as a sub in the 74th minute, knew he had a chance to do something special when he saw Devon Sandoval fight off a challenge and get the ball to Morales at the top of the 18.
“As soon as you see Javi on the ball, in an area like that, you have to expect the ball to come to you,” Allen said. “He has the type of quality where he’ll put it, just like he did to me, right to my head and give you an easy job to finish it. So I just had to make sure I was aware and expecting the ball to come through.”
Allen rose up to meet the cross and headed it home, sending the crowd into hysterics and securing the full three points for RSL. When asked after the match how he was planning on celebrating, Allen said it was going to be business as usual.
“I’m not the type of guy that celebrates too much,” Allen said. “To be honest, I’m just probably going to get back to the field and keep working. I think this goal comes after two weeks of staying after [training with assistant coach] Ted Eck every day doing finishing. So it’s not something that just happens and I’m going to make sure I realize that going forward that this doesn’t just happen. You have to keep working at it.”
The goal was a moment of validation for Allen, who isn’t taking anything for granted after his difficulties in 2014.
“Last year was really hard. There were a lot of times where I was watching from the stands wondering if I was ever going to get that moment again. So for me to have that moment so early in the season, hopefully I can build on it and there will be a lot more moments like this throughout the rest of the year.”