SANDY, Utah — In his seventh MLS season, in his 147th match, during his 10,957th minute played, Real Salt Lake defender Chris Wingert “finally, finally” netted his first Major League Soccer goal.
"It’s been a long time coming," he told MLSsoccer.com after last weekend’s victory over Chivas.
The strike happened in the waning moments of first-half stoppage time. Javier Morales push toward the end line and take a low angle shot that ricocheted off the post. Wingert, who was playing left back had sprinted forward and cut back to his right where he picked up the rebound and immediately blasted it back toward the goal.
The ball went in, and, um, a scoring streak was begun.
Coach Jason Kreis joked, “No, we’re not going to start playing him at forward.”
When asked about Wingert’s previous blank score sheet, the RSL boss indicated that he and his players had given Wingert considerable grief over the situation. He also indicated that he was “very surprised” by the lack of production. “[In training,] “he scores all the time,” Kreis said.
“I’ve always been an attacking player,” Wingert said. “I was always a midfielder and even my first couple of years in the league I played midfield.”
Wingert was a standout at St. Johns University and captured the Hermann Trophy during his senior season in 2003. He posted four goals and four assists that season, but he was never a major scoring threat.
However, as an outside back, Wingert likes to get forward, something his team actually requires.
“Tactically it’s paramount,” Kreis explained. “That’s how we’re setup. Those players need to be able to add to the attack.”
Competing for this year’s Golden Boot Award is probably not something that Wingert’s worrying about. However, he did express the relief that came with this first goal.
“It’s nice to finally bury one,” Wingert said. “Fortunately it was a big one for our team.”