Following an absence playing for his national team in the Gold Cup, Alvaro Saborio returned to action for Real Salt Lake and gave them all that they needed to post a 3-1 victory against visiting Toronto FC on Saturday night.
Heading into the match, Real Salt Lake was concerned with which players would be able to start at the forward position. Due to injuries, they had only two real strikers available, Saborio and rookie Artur Aghasyan.
Battling an injury of his own, Saborio was questionable for the match as well.
Even before the match began, Real Salt Lake made a tactical decision that proved to make a big difference. Switching directions on the goal that they normally defend in the first half, Real Salt Lake started the game putting Toronto FC goalkeeper Stefan Frei in the only place where the summer sun beat into the stadium.
Frei struggled to see the ball and players who came from the side caused him to look into the sun.
It was in the first half that Real Salt Lake scored the first two of its three goals.
In the 39th minute, defender Nat Borchers worked his way between the defense and nodded in a header that came from a set piece in the corner. It was his first goal of the season, and a good reward for his consistently strong play along the back line.
Only three minutes later, Saborio added a second goal that came on a fortunate deflection of a ball crossed in from the side and off of the leg of a defender. Saborio was in the right spot and easily knocked the ball past Frei who was still battling the sun.
The second half started the same as the first, with Real Salt Lake maintaining possession. In the 60th minute, Saborio took a long ball over the top and moved past the defender who had tried to play the ball but missed. He easily slotted it home to the bottom right post, past Frei.
Both of Saborio's goals were assisted by Robbie Russell from the outside.
Toronto FC continued to battle, and denied the Real Salt Lake goalkeeper of gaining another clean sheet in this match.
In the 66th minute, Toronto forward Maicon Santos took the ball just past midfield, took several touches and fired a strike from just outside the box. It landed just inside the near post and past Rimando to make the score 3-1.
Maicon's goal was not enough, however, as Toronto FC went home with a road loss and no points.
Real Salt Lake picked up three points that the desperately needed to keep pace with the leaders in the Western Conference.
They will next play out of league in an Open Cup match on Tuesday, and will host the New England Revolution on Independence Day at home.
Chris Johstoneaux is a contributor to Bleacher Report who usually covers the NBA and Major League Soccer. If you liked this article, please take a moment to leave me a comment and follow me on Twitter @JazzRSLExaminer.