SANDY, Utah – For Real Salt Lake’s Chris Wingert, last Saturday’s preseason finale against the New York Red Bulls was part pleasure, part pain. He had the game-winning goal – a curler to the upper 90 that Cristiano Ronaldo would have been happy to claim – but also suffered a deep gash above his right eye that required stitches.
Wingert’s game-winner came in the 28th minute, as he brought the ball along the left flank before cutting inside to bend a 25-yard golazo around goalkeeper Jeremy Vuolo.
“[I’m] good at scoring in games that don’t count,” joked Wingert after Tuesday’s training session at the squad’s new practice facility, America First Field. “But it’s nice to contribute on the score sheet. Let’s just hope that I can get another one here during the season.”
Unfortunately for Wingert, it was a tale of two halves, and the second did not prove to be kind. In the 56th minute, he went into an aggressive slide tackle and came out worse for the wear after onrushing attacker Juan Agudelo tripped over him, catching his boot on Wingert’s face in the process.
The result was a large wound above his right eye that's still swollen. The injury leaves the veteran outside back’s status for the opener at the LA Galaxy (Saturday, 10:30 pm ET; MLS Live) in doubt. He feels like he’ll be ready to play, although he admits that one aspect of his game could be hampered by the injury – namely, heading the ball.
The gregarious New York native takes everything in stride, however, admitting that he’d gladly take another bout of stitches if the payoff was a goal in league action.
“I’ll take the stitches if I can score again – about 10 of these a year,” he joked. “If I could score double digits, I think I’d be OK with that. Obviously, I was psyched to get a goal. It was just a freak accident and sometimes that stuff happens, but if I don’t have to miss a game then it’s not a big deal.”
GET TICKETS to LA Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake, Saturday, March 10, 2012, 10:30 pm ET at The Home Depot Center