Sandy • For a brief time, Alvaro Saborio’s return to the field appeared to be almost perfect.
The crowd of 18,000-plus at Rio Tinto Stadium rose to its feet as the Costa Rican came on as a second-half substitute Saturday night, his first action in more than a month.
It took Saborio only minutes before he was standing at the corner flag, celebrating a go-ahead goal.
The reality, however, would be something short of perfect.
RSL conceded a late equalizer to a Chicago Fire team that hadn’t scored a goal in its three previous matches. And after settling for the 1-1 draw, Saborio revealed he had reaggravated the quad injury that kept him out of five matches.
“I feel very happy to be back to the team and helping,” the forward said after the game. “But I’m sad because need a result here at home and we couldn’t get it.”
RSL midfielder Sebastian Velasquez started the sequence that led to RSL’s lone goal on the night. After falling down, but somehow managing to keep the ball at his feet, Velasquez found teammate Ned Grabavoy on the left side. Grabavoy then sent a cross into the box, and Saborio snapped his head to drive the ball into the back of the net.
“He’s the type of player that you give him once chance in a game and he scores that one chance,” Velasquez said of Saborio, RSL’s all-time leading scorer.
Chicago equalized in the 84th minute. A long throw bounced off Fire defender Austin Berry’s head and an unmarked Quincy Amarikwa took an acrobatic shot.
“We’ve got to sharpen up there and make sure that we get tighter and not allow plays like that,” RSL defender Nat Borchers said. “We’re at the point of the season where we’re more mature to finish out games.”
Players in the locker room said they were disappointed to leave two points on the field as they started a four-game homestand at Rio Tinto.
“It’s kind of the same old story a little bit,” Grabavoy said. “We go up and we’ve got to be able to close that game out.”
Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson put a damper on Real Salt Lake’s homecoming for most of the night, making eight saves to keep his team in the game. In the 22nd minute, Grabavoy supplied a back heel pass to Kyle Beckerman inside the box but Beckerman’s shot went straight into Johnson’s arms. Minutes later, Salt Lake forward Joao Plata fired from outside the box and Johnson laid out to make the save.
Saborio reinjured himself trying to chip a shot over Johnson’s head in the second half.
“It’s really sore right now,” he said of his quad. “But I don’t think it’s the same magnitude from the last time.”
Storylines RSL 1, Fire 1
R Alvaro Saborio returns to the field after a monthlong absence and scores his fourth goal of the season, but reinjures himself in the process.
• Chicago equalizes on an 84th-minute goal.