On a brisk late April evening at America First Field, Real Salt Lake found themselves tied 1-1 with the San Jose Earthquakes heading into the second half. In search of a go-ahead goal, RSL pushed from the backline through the midfield into the attacking third. Andrés Gómez carried the ball, looking for an open teammate.
Coming into the match, the Venezuelan forward was on the verge of making Club history, sitting on 30 career goals and 29 career assists. If he could find an assist in his 108th MLS match against the Earthquakes, he would join the 30/30 Club in the second-fewest number of games in Club history, second only to RSL legend Joao Plata who did so in 104 matches.
But in the 54th minute, after receiving a pass from Gómez, Savarino had a glimpse at goal and an opportunity to give his team the lead.
“Gómez, sets it up and JEFFERSON SAVARINO! When he is in full tilt, there are few better than him! And the Venezuelan, from long range, gets his third of the season!” Apple TV’s Max Bretos called from the booth.
Cool, calm, and collected, Savarino settled the pass, took one touch to his right around the defender, and curled in a bending shot to the far post side netting to beat San Jose’s JT Marcinkowski.
31 goals, 29 assists. Not quite to the benchmark yet, but more importantly Savarino’s stroke of brilliance gave RSL the lead.
Then in the 80th minute, Sava, as he’s known around team facilities, connected with Bryan Oviedo to set up Andrés Gómez for a victory-sealing goal, propelling him to the 30-goal 30-assist club.
Was the milestone even on Sava’s mind?
“No, I honestly didn't know, it's not something I keep track of but I am happy,” the Venezuelan Designated Player said.
“I found out through tags from the Club on Instagram and Twitter. I just hope to continue to build on that to help the team, and the most important thing is that the group is in a good place.”
Always the team-first player, Savarino has built his career on consistency and versatility, and his career goals and assists numbers are evidence to the fact. From his debut in 2017 until his stint with Atletico Mineiro, Savarino averaged seven goals and seven assists each year across a span of three seasons.
Since returning from Brazil midway through the 2022 season he’s continued on the same trajectory, with seven goals and six assists in 19 matches last year. Off to a quick start in 2023, Savarino leads the team in both categories and is a reliable option for Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni in the team’s attack.
With his name now being mentioned alongside the likes of Plata, the future is bright for the 26-year-old.
“I don't know what the all-time scoring number is, or the all-time assists number is but I'd say I'll probably be close to them. We don't know what the future holds, we don't know what could happen in the future or whether or not I'll be here for a long time but I do hope I'm able to reach other milestones with RSL.”