Real Salt Lake forward Álvaro Saborío will not only miss this summer’s World Cup, but he’ll also be sidelined for most of the Major League Soccer season. According to his team, successful surgery to address a broken fifth metatarsal in the 32-year-old’s right foot will keep Saborío out three-to-four months, a timeline that could leave the Costa Rican out until just before this fall’s playoffs.
News of Saborío’s injury hit this weekend, leaving Costa Rica without one of its best attackers ahead of Group D play in Brazil. At club level, Real Salt Lake was always going to be without their leading scorer for much of the summer, but forced to adapt a longer life without his star, head coach Jeff Cassar will have to augment João Plata’s production with Robbie Findley, Devon Sandoval and Olmes Garcia.
Last season, Saborío scored 12 regular season goals in 16 games (0.80 goals per 90 minutes) – his fourth straight season with at least 11 goals. RSL’s four other forwards scored 18 times in 95 appearances (0.34 goals per 90 minutes).
“Last year Sabo had 17 starts, which means there were 17 games he didn’t start —including some playoff games he missed — and the other forwards were able to get it done and certainly they were able to get it done because we distributed the load over everybody.”
Perhaps, but there is a reason why Real Salt Lake pays their main striker Designated Player money. There’s also a reason why the numbers tell a different story.
RSL’s supporting cast may be able to fill the void, but if last year’s performance is any indication, they’ll have to significantly step up to do so.