Sandy • Fabian Espindola had a game full of near misses something he's become accustomed to in the first few games of the season.
But frustration gave way to relief as the Argentine forward finally found a shining moment in a cold, wet and windy match.
Javier Morales almost didn't need help, but his 23-yard shot bounced off the left post, and Paulo Junior tapped the rebound toward the Colorado Rapids' net.
It fell to Espindola, who had been a spark for most of the night for most of the season, even to finish it off. In the 93rd minute of a back-and-forth game, Espindola's sliding stretch that knocked the ball past goalkeeper Matt Pickens was the difference in a tight 1-0 win for RSL on Wednesday night at Rio Tinto Stadium.
"I'm so happy I have to score," Espindola said. "When I do, I feel like I do my job."
It was his first goal of the season, and a well-earned one at that.
His teammates were quick to commend him for not only his late-game heroics but the energy he's brought to the team this year.
"He's been amazing for us this season," defender Nat Borchers said. "He's worked so hard, created so many chances, created so many goals. He's been busting his hump all season, so I'm really happy for him."
It was the last of many good looks for Espindola, but he hadn't been so lucky earlier in the game. He nearly drew blood in the 37th minute with a wild bicycle kick, but Pickens made the save. A header that bounced in the corner of the net was called off for an offside penalty.
"I thought Fabian made a couple of fantastic runs for us," coach Jason Kreis said. "I think our guys were playing on the razor's edge some of those offside calls could've gone either way."
The goal itself could have been wiped away by an offside call as well. Replays showed that Espindola was in an offside position when Paulo touched the ball. But the referees didn't make the call, and Espindola beat Rapids' defender Kosuke Kimura to win the night for RSL.
"Fabi's been awesome for us he's been a pain in the neck for every team we play," midfielder Kyle Beckerman said. "It's good to see him get a goal and get some confidence from that. It's going to be good for the team."
Espindola rises to occasion
• Fabian Espindola gets his first goal of the season on a 93rd-minute game-winner.
• Espindola also has several other close calls, including a bicycle kick and a header during the first half.