Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Real Salt Lake rookie Devon Sandoval ready for his opportunity
MLS » Sandoval to step in with five players away on international call-ups.

< Previous Page

The deep pass over the heads of Colorado’s back line should have been cleared away easily.

A Rapids defender casually passed back to goalkeeper Steward Ceus, who settled the ball and looked up to find an open teammate.

At a glance

Real Salt Lake at FC Dallas

FC Dallas Stadium (Frisco, Texas)

Kickoff » Saturday, 6:30 p.m.

TV » Ch. 4, Univision

Records » RSL 1-1-1; Dallas 2-1-0

Last meeting » FC Dallas 2, RSL 1 (Aug. 18, 2012)

About RSL » RSL will be missing five players due to international call-ups. Midfielder Kyle Beckerman (USA), goalie Nick Rimando (USA), defender Tony Beltran (USA), defender Abdoulie Mansally (the Gambia) and forward Alvaro Saborio (Costa Rica) all have started games for RSL this season.

About FC Dallas » Dallas’ only loss has come on the road. … Forward Kenny Cooper was second in MLS in goals scored last year, behind San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski and ahead of RSL’s Saborio. … Dallas will be without forward Blas Perez (Panama), midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson (Jamaica), goalie Raul Fernandez (Peru) and midfielder Kellyn Acosta (USA U-18) due to international duty.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Instead he saw Real Salt Lake rookie Devon Sandoval doing what he does best: working tirelessly, refusing to give up on an opportunity.

"He’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever played with," said Montreal Impact midfielder Blake Smith, one of Sandoval’s college teammates at New Mexico. "And all the hard work that he’s put in has paid off."

Under the lights at Rio Tinto Stadium last Saturday, Sandoval tracked that probing ball at a dead sprint toward Ceus, and a moment of hesitation by the goalkeeper gave the rookie his chance. Sandoval slid at Ceus’ feet, stood up only to be brought back down as Ceus fought for the ball. Sandoval got up once again, this time with the ball at his feet and an empty net in front of him.

"I’m feeling it still a bit. That was a pretty good collision," Sandoval said with a laugh during training this week. "But I was pretty happy with that goal for sure."

Sandoval should get another opportunity this weekend. With RSL’s leading-goal scorer, Alvaro Saborio, away with the Costa Rican national team, Sandoval is likely to see his first career start.

The goal last Saturday, Sandoval’s second in reserve play this season, exemplifies his style — and the reason why Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis speaks so highly of the youngster.

"Most of my goals come from effort, scrappy goals like that," Sandoval said. "It’s just my style, I guess."

Sandoval is a reserved 21-year-old off the field, but on it he is "intense, focused — and confident," New Mexico coach Jeremy Fishbein said.

story continues below
story continues below

Sandoval, an Albuquerque native, spent a semester at San Diego State University before deciding to transfer to New Mexico.

Fishbein said he immediately saw a player willing to put in the hours to improve.

"He was always staying and doing extra," the coach said. "Extra finishing, extra strength and conditioning. ... And he was always looking for feedback and doing whatever it took to succeed."

Sandoval went on to score 26 goals and tally 17 assists in three seasons with the Lobos, earning second-team All-American honors his senior year.

RSL certainly has taken notice.

Sandoval impressed Real Salt Lake’s staff when he trained with the team last summer before returning to New Mexico for his senior year. A poor showing at the MLS combine caused Sandoval to slip some in January’s draft, but Kreis wasn’t willing to wait too long to get his man. Kreis convinced RSL general manager Garth Lagerwey to give up a pair of supplemental draft picks to move up two spots for Sandoval.

Sandoval’s effort has not disappointed yet.

The rookie has seen action in each of Salt Lake’s first three matches of the season. After logging 10 minutes against Colorado’s first team last weekend, Sandoval covered more ground than any other player in RSL’s reserve match.

"He’s just been really, really good," Kreis said. "Really working hard. We calculate the ground he covers. ... To have a forward that covers the most ground on the entire team is saying something. I think he covered 6 or 7 miles."

"It’s just showing how extremely hungry he is," Kreis added. "I think also it will show that, in the end, people who want it that badly will tend to succeed in our setup."

afalk@sltrib.comTwitter: @aaronfalk

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.