Ned Grabavoy put it as simply as he could.
“Goals change games,” the Real Salt Lake midfielder said.
And since knocking home a goal in the 2011 playoffs, Grabavoy and his coach have been waiting for the 29-year-old veteran to strike again.
He did just that Sunday night, breaking out for two goals in a 4-1 win over Chivas USA.
“Ned’s a guy that’s just been doing so much for us the beginning half of the season,” RSL coach Jason Kreis said. “When you think about the stats he’s had over his years, I always think that he should have more goals than he does. So we’ve been challenging him with that over the past week or two.”
Grabavoy ignited the RSL attack when he took a Javier Morales pass and beat Chivas keeper Dan Kennedy. In stoppage time, Grabavoy did it again, breaking free and five-holing Kennedy to put the exclamation point on a dominant road victory.
“It’s such a hard position to score goals out of,” Grabavoy said of playing the side of RSL’s diamond midfield. “It’s always been like that on our team. But my main focus this offseason and preseason was to become as fit as I possibly can, to be as fit as I have been in my career, so I can make those extra runs to not just get around the box but in the box.”
Grabavoy becomes the latest Salt Lake midfielder to get a goal, something the team has wanted to see more of from the position. Morales, Grabavoy and Luis Gil each have two scores on the year, while captain Kyle Beckerman got his first of the season a week ago in Montreal.
“Going forward, the more we can look for guys in our midfield to make plays, its going to ease up things for the rest of our team,” Grabavoy said.
RSL vs. Chicago
P Saturday, 7 p.m., At Rio Tinto Stadium, TV • CW30