Since joining Real Salt Lake in 2007, Fabián Espíndola has always proved to be a key figure in any success that they have had in the five year stint since he’s been there. The forward has been able to accumulate 35 goals and 17 assists in the 123 matches that he has been a part of in the MLS. His ability to link defense to attack in such a quick fashion, alongside the energy, flair and the extremely high levels of creativity that he possesses makes him one of the best attackers in the league.
Things haven’t been plain sailing for the Argentine of late however, before the 22nd September, Espíndola had not scored a goal since the 16th June, making only 3 assists in that horrific three months. Nothing was going his way.
Relief must have overcame Espíndola then as he drilled a low free-kick underneath the wall of the struggling Portland Timbers into the bottom right hand corner of the net, from that moment three weeks ago, the floodgates have opened as in the next two fixtures after that, Espíndola created three goals in a convincing 4-0 win over Chivas USA and even more importantly, bagged two goals in a 2-1 away win at LA Galaxy last weekend, placing RSL in second place of the Western Conference and 3 points clear of Seattle Sounders, strengthening their stranglehold on 2nd place (1st is impossible now due to San Jose’s remarkable season). Espíndola’s performance against Chivas in which he created three of the goals was outstanding and his partnership with the free-scoring Álvaro Saborío looks to have been strengthened significantly over recent weeks.
RSL head coach Jason Kreis will be hoping that Espíndola’s good run of form will continue into the play-offs in which they will need him to perform as their reliance on the likes of Saborío and keeper Nick Rimando has been very clear with there being patches of inconsistency in their regular season form. If Espíndola can play like he has being doing of late, then RSL will place themselves in very good stead in what looks likely to be many closely fought post-season play-offs games.
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This article was first posted on October 9, 2012