Things certainly have been coming up roses for Real Salt Lake forward Fabian Espindola.
Not only did he become a new father just over a month ago, eight days later he scored what proved to be the game-winner at Seattle to become RSL's all-time leading scorer in club history, but he hasn't stopped there. The good times continued to roll Saturday night against Chivas USA as Espindola added his fifth and sixth goals of the season in a 3-0 win at the Home Depot Center.
"He's something else," said midfielder Kyle Beckerman of Espindola. "He's able to finish a lot of chances that some other forwards can't. We hope he can continue that for the rest of the season."
Espindola actually sent his first two shots of the game up high into the stands, but he didn't let that get him down or stop his attacking.
“No. I’m trying to keep going when something bad happens," he said. [You have to] keep going and going, and today I scored, so it’s going good.”
During RSL's three-week break from MLS action, the team went through several brutal training sessions. Throughout the hard work, Espindola and his form continued to stand out, something coach Jason Kreis took note of.
"Fabian has worked incredibly hard over the last two and a half weeks, much to his chagrin, I think," Kreis said. "He's not the guy that loves to train all the time, but he's really put it in the last two and a half weeks, been incredibly sharp in the training sessions and I think what we saw tonight was a player that got rewarded for all the work he has put in. He had a fantastic game-changing performance for us tonight."
Espindola certainly showed his versatility with his two scores – the first goal came on an assist from Beckerman, as the RSL captain sent a perfectly timed ball in from the right side, with the Argentine connecting to score on a well-placed header.
The second goal, on the other hand, showed both Espindola's speed and touch on the ball. A through ball from Ned Grabavoy found the Argentine streaking down the right side. He carried the ball into the box where he beat former teammate Rauwshan McKenzie before taking one more touch and sending a clinical finish to the back left corner.
And having many training sessions with Espindola last season may have actually hurt McKenzie in this instance – Espindola is a natural left-footed striker, and with him coming down the right side, he usually prefers to cut back to the middle to hit a shot with his favored foot. But this time, Espindola caught McKenzie leaning that way and instead stepped over with his left and pushed it right and by the defender before beating Kennedy to the far post with a left-foot in-swinger.
“When you’re on the field, you try stuff. Sometimes it happens, sometimes not," said Espindola of his sweet step-over.
So while things have been especially terrific for Espindola lately, Saturday night's win wasn't too shabby for the rest of RSL Nation either.
"I'm pleased," said Kreis. "What's not to be pleased about? I thought it was the most complete performance we've had this year."