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Real Salt Lake's Fabian Espindola celebrates goal and upcoming fatherhood at same time

Published March 17, 2012 11:26 pm

RSL notes • Jason Kreis says team got too caught up in the big picture last season.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Sandy •Â Fabian Espindola raced to the ball that he'd just shot between the goalkeeper's legs, stuffed it under the front of his shirt and then pulled it to his lips for a kiss.

Yeah, he's ready to be a daddy.

The forward and his wife are expecting their first child in about two months — a boy — so that was the celebration that occurred to him after scoring the goal that helped launch Real Salt Lake a 2-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday night.

"I was trying to shoot the [far] post, so I get a little bit of luck in that one," he said. "But a goal's a goal, right?"

Espindola has scored plenty of them against the Red Bulls — five in six career games. He said he has mostly taken advantage of New York mistakes in that span, which would come to no surprise to anybody who saw the most recent game.

The tireless Espindola ran the Red Bulls ragged for much of the game, though coach Jason Kreis said he was "a little less active" than during last week's victory at Los Angeles. Still, the coach praised Espindola for his "90 minutes of effort."

Timing is everything

Midfielder Jonny Steele made his long-awaited RSL debut in the 84th minute as a substitute for rookie Sebastian Velasquez, after playing for a dozen minor-league teams in eight years while searching for his big break.

"Great day to do it, too, eh?" he said.

Indeed — no better time for the native of North Ireland to play his first big-league game than on St. Patrick's Day.

Playing through pain

Defender Tony Beltran wasn't supposed to start for RSL.

Still fighting off a knee injury from the season-opener, the right back was going to sit out while rookie Terakazu Tanaka made his team debut. But Tanaka came down with a fever, Kreis said, forcing Beltran back into the lineup.

"Tony was of the opinion [Friday] that he could go," Kreis said. "I was making a very safe decision not to have him start. So it was good to have that feedback from him."

Beltran said he felt a step slow. "It didn't feel great out there, but we got the result and I don't think I further injured it.