Real Salt Lake's Paulo Jr. continues inspired play, snaps scoring slump
Sandy • Wednesday was a milestone of sorts for Paulo Jr. It was nearly a year ago that the Real Salt Lake forward scored his last goal.
It came against New England, 13 games ago, which also says a lot, if you believe in such things, about superstitions.
Wednesday's goal was the only score in RSL's 1-0 victory over Impact Montreal in Rio Tinto Stadium. It was a team performance that displeased Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis.
However, Kreis was happy with Paulo Jr., a player he has lauded throughout the start of this season.
"He was one of the few players who was really bright on the ball," Kreis said. "He was making things happen every time he touched it. He had a pretty sharp night."
Kreis has been pleased with what he has called the Brazilian's professionalism. In short, Paulo Jr. came into training camp fit with no signs of the hamstring and hip flexor injuries that severely limited his 2011.
It's been the 5-foot-7 forward's work ethic that has really pleased Kreis.
"I'm finally working hard and getting the results and getting the goals from the hard work," said Paulo Jr., through an interpreter. "You have to do that to get those goals."
The RSL goal came via a penalty kick, one that Paulo Jr. insisted on taking, in the 13th minute.
Montreal's Justin Braun, a Utah native, handled Will Johnson's pass inside the 18-yard box. RSL's Kyle Beckerman held the ball, but gave way to Paulo Jr., who confidently buried his attempt.
"The confidence was there, and why not demonstrate it?" Paulo Jr. said.
Kreis, a goal-scoring machine during his playing days, understood Paulo Jr.'s motivations completely.
"He's a forward like any forward," Kreis said. "He wanted to get off the schneid. I was pleased with that."
In his 77 minutes of play, Paulo Jr. took four shots, three of which were on goal. He continually was turning and getting behind his Impact defender.
"I did nothing different [during the off-season]," Paulo Jr. said. "I prepared to come back and be a starter and look for those opportunities in games, like I had tonight."
A closer look
• RSL's Paulo Jr. scored his first goal since April 9, 2011, when he scored at New England.
• Paulo Jr. took four shots Wednesday, three of which were on goal.