What did our beloved Claret and Cobalt do the evening of March, 10th? They did what they trained for. They did what they most wanted. They did what they are capable of. They “came to score” (The Aggrolites).
Ten games in and we've got six wins, three losses and a draw; we've found the net 16 times — or somebody's found it for us — and of those 16, some of them were startlingly special. It's hard to imagine that after only 10 games, we've scored these 10 thrilling goals — all of them of real quality. There's not a bad apple in the bunch. Read on, then, and relive some of the exciting moments of the last two months.
10. Fabian Espindola beats the keeper against New York
If anybody ever asks you what Fabian Espindola's about, this might be the goal to show them. Here, he's found the perfect space, embarks on a great run, and fires home between the legs of the keeper. Capitalizing on mistakes: That's one of the many things that has fired Espindola into our record books.
9. Luis Gil volleys home the rebound against New York
For being an 18-year-old, Luis Gil shows a great deal of class and skill on the ball. This one's no different: He picks up on perfectly on the rebounded shot, making sure first and foremost that he gets his shot on target. He does, and two men on the line and a diving goalkeeper make no difference.
8. Javier Morales fires against LA
Javier Morales is clearly a special player, but even he scores the occasional scrappy goal. This one perhaps made the list more for its emotional weight than the beauty of the thing, but make no mistake: Javi gets enough power on this one that Galaxy keeper Josh Saunders simply has no chance. It was… enthralling.
7. Espindola finds the net for RSL's third against Galaxy
This one's a bit more skillful as far as goals go, perhaps bumping it just ahead of the previous one by Javier Morales. From the goal kick, placed perfectly on Saborio's head, to the flick-on header, to the domineering run, to the sumptuous finish. This one had it all. It's the perfect Espindola goal, and it shows the danger we pose when some of our four-letter players — Javi, Fabi and Sabo — are on the pitch together. Watch as Javier Morales positions himself perfectly for an opening, confusing the marking ever so slightly and forcing Josh Saunders into decision-making time.
6. Kyle Beckerman equalizes against San Jose before second red card sends side tumbling
If we had gone on to win after Kyle scored this goal, there's no doubt that it would rank higher on the list. It's a necessary evil, I suppose. Here, we've caught San Jose on the break, and a stepover from Saborio sees Kyle Beckerman pick up the ball not far from the penalty box — and he's almost completely unmarked. His dribbling skills see him through to the interior, and a simple, neat finish seal off this ruthlessly efficient piece of work from our captain.
5. Bonfigli draws RSL level with FC Dallas on the road
Young Argentine striker Emiliano Bonfigli has seen only a handful of minutes on the pitch in the first ten matches of the season, but there's no doubting that he's won a place in the hearts of fans already. Late in the match and trailing by a goal, we needed something magical to grab a point. This goal, the result of smart build-up play and a dogged commitment to passing (in the video, you can see 8 passes in the build-up, though there were more).
It's the perfect Real Salt Lake goal: Efficient movement, safe passing, a moment of magic in the pass — this one from Will Johnson — and the defense just unravels. Here, the central defenders have been drawn out of position by paying perhaps too much attention to the smart-in-movement Saborio, leaving a startling gap for Bonfigli to punch right through and score his first goal for the club.
4. Saborio caps excellent RSL movement with Goal of the Week
This is one of those sumptuous passing-movement goals that I love so much, and it's that magic that makes it. After Saborio's blocked strike, we take seven thoughtful passes, with the final one being a magical bit of wizardry from right back Tony Beltran — taken with his non-dominant left foot, no less.
But all the movement in the world doesn't put this one in the back of the net. It took a smart touch from Saborio — with his chest, no less — to find the ample space to fire into the top corner of the net from close range. Again, this one's a perfect Real Salt Lake goal. It certainly doesn't hurt that it's against the R*pids, either.
3. Jonny Steele scores game-winning goal in stoppage time against Toronto
Jonny Steele, our Irish midfielder who has spent more time in the indoor game than the outdoor game, has something special about him. He's never overawed, and while he's been found wanting in a couple ways, he's showed something even more vital: He pops up in the big moments, finding the space defenders have forgotten.
This goal is something special: Tony Beltran weights his throw-in perfectly, and Javier Morales uses a bit of magic to get past his defender with a rainbow flick. It's what comes next that's truly breathtaking, though: The ball into Kyle Beckerman is a touch behind the player, but when our captain sets out to do something, he does it right. He stretches to lay the ball off for Jonny Steele, who is in perfect space, and Jonny steps up and strikes it cleanly and simply. There's no over complication here: It's just a perfect goal. That it came deep in stoppage time in an otherwise level match only made it more special.
2. Jonny Steele ties things up in Portland
It was late. Real late. 89th minute late. That didn't stop Jonny Steele from putting his name up in lights for Real Salt Lake fans, though. The tight passing and movement is superb. Javier Morales wins the ball back about 25 to 30 yards out from goal. Jonny Steele picks it up, lays it off to Morales, and sprints into the box. Javier, with the pass of an angel, chips the ball into Will Johnson, who lays it off — again with the layoffs! — for Jonny Steele, who, no coincidence, has found space on the edge of the box.
That space quickly vanished as Portland defenders moved in on the player, but those indoor skills came into play as Jonny Steele kept the ball glued to his foot and dribbled around a player then, with a calm you'd never expect from a player as fiery as he is, he takes a beautiful, controlled shot to find the goal. This lad's something special.
1. Kyle Beckerman chops down the Timbers
We know how good this guy is. He's already scored three goals, and this one's not one to shake your head at. Having only recently been trailing against Portland and having just been lifted by a bold goal from Jonny Steele, this one comes late in stoppage. It's another one of those famed 'team goals' and includes a brilliant little chip from Fabian Espindola.
Espindola, finding space on the left flank, spots space in the middle of the box, right on the edge. After what seems like a lifetime of Kyle Beckerman waving his hands, the chip comes in, and just when it looks like Jonny Steele's going to connect with it after moving into the center, Kyle pops up and puts it away. A bounce and a skip on the way in couldn't stop our captain from grabbing a late winner, and while the commentary on this one leaves me cringing, a little press of the mute button and you're good to go.
Added bonus: Traveling supporters in the last shot, whom the players are saluting in the corner. Brilliant stuff.
And another added bonus: Greg Lalas of mlssoccer.com breaks down the goal:
Would you have ranked the goals differently? Have I left one out that you'd like to see in here? Join the conversation!