Talking MLS with Álvaro Saborío
In this edition we catch up with Real Salt Lake’s Designated Player, Costa Rican Álvaro Saborío. Saborío began his soccer career with Deportivo Saprissa in 2001 before leaving to play in Europe, first with FC Sion in Switzerland and later with Bristol City in 2009. Saborío joined Real Salt Lake in 2010 on loan before signing a contract for the 2011 season.
Saborío, who is having a great season with Real Salt Lake with 10 goals and two assists, spoke with us about RSL’s next game against the Portland Timbers this Saturday, October 22 at Rio Tinto Stadium at 7:00 p.m. MT, his favorite memories from his soccer career, and his thoughts about the Costa Rican National Team.
On Real Salt Lake and their next game against the Portland Timbers
What are your thoughts on this weekend’s game against the Portland Timbers? What is the team doing to get ready?
“It’s going to be a very important game because we’re playing for third place in the overall standings and I think that we need to be well-prepared, we trained today with high intensity.”
The game against Portland is the last of the season, do you have any personal objectives you would like to achieve this weekend?
“I would like to help the team with goals, I hope I can contribute multiple goals so that we can get the win but assists and helping on defense would be great too.”
What do you think that Javier Morales brings to the team now that he’s recovered from his injury?
“Javier is an important player. He gives us lots of confidence on offense because he knows how to play well and also on defense because he organizes the defense a lot.”
On the MLS Cup Playoffs
Which team do you think will be the team to beat when the Playoffs begin?
“I don’t know. First you have to see which teams are in, because they aren’t all decided yet. Multiple teams have qualified but not all of them and when they’re all decided we’ll go step by step. I think that we have multiple options to go game by game and think about the Cup.”
What do you think the secret will be to winning the MLS Cup?
“Keep believing in ourselves. We have the ability to leave this bad stretch behind us and play like we were before the stretch which was very important.”
How do you think that the experience of having played in the Playoffs helps you during the season?
“I only played last season here and it was a beautiful experience. I think that we played two very intense games against Dallas and I hope that this time we can score a big difference to keep the team moving and to advance against whichever team we play.”
Real Salt Lake has a great fan base. Do you have any messages for them?
“They should do as they always do, they should support us as they’ve always done and now in the last game of the regular season they should come to the Stadium and help the team to win and claim third place in the standings.”
How do you feel about the possibility of winning the MLS Cup in your second year in MLS?
“Very pleased. I think that it’s a huge motivation to a lot of players that we get there. I’m going to do everything possible to support the team winning the Cup and I hope that I can score enough goals to help the team.”
On the Costa Rican National Team
What do you think about the new manager of the Costa Rican team, Jorge Luis Pinto? What do you think he offers for the squad?
“He’s a top-level coach, very experienced. I think that he has been with a lot of teams that gave him lots of international experience. He was already in Costa Rica, already with the National Team. He knows the Costa Rican players, the way we train, everything and I think that he’ll help us get to Brazil.”
How are you getting used to the strategy of the new coach?
“I already knew him from before, I was with him in the past and I knew a bit about how he likes to work and I think that it’s time to put our effort forth to be able to get to the World Cup and have a good group stage before anything else.”
How do you think Costa Rica is doing before the next friendlies between Panama and Spain?
“We’re feeling really well. We had a good game against Brazil which is one of the best teams in the world. We feel well and we have two important games against Panama and Spain. We hope that our team keeps growing in the level of our soccer and that we continue to show the high quality that we have.”
Saborío in depth
What do you like to do in your free time?
“Well, there’s not much variety of things to do here but I have a dog that I play with a lot, I go to the gym, to movies and I try to enjoy my free time however I can.”
We understand that your dog’s name is Rex. Have you always liked pets? How’s Rex doing and what kind of dog is he?
“He’s doing really well and he’s a bulldog and yes, I’ve always liked animals. I’ve always liked dogs and that’s why I have Rex and now Tina, who I say is Rex’s companion. She’s in Costa Rica right now but soon I’m going to go get her.”
If you weren’t a soccer player, what would you be and why?
“I don’t know, I like to cook so maybe I’d be a chef or something like that. I really like gastronomy and I think I’d be a chef. My mom likes it and I think it’s a profession that I’d like.”
What is the most memorable moment of your career?
“There have been a lot; the qualification for the 2006 World Cup was something beautiful as well as the qualification for the Olympics, the goal that I scored in the Olympics, participating in the World Cup as well as the Club World Cup. Thankfully, there have been a lot.”
If you could choose any players from past or present to play a game of 4-v-4 with, who would be on your team?
“They’d be [Lionel] Messi, Ronaldinho, [Andrés] Iniesta and me.”