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Williams unimpressed by historic goal

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Andy Williams had a record-setting day Saturday. In the 49th minute of Real Salt Lake's 2-1 win over Chivas USA, he scored the 5,000th goal in Major League Soccer history. A historic moment for sure, but for the laid-back Williams? No big deal.

"Ah, that doesn't matter," he said. "It was just a good thing to get a win."

That winning attitude has driven Williams lately. After what even he concedes was a slow start to the season, his play has been energetic, creative and at times downright amazing. That was never more evident than in Saturday's contest.

"I thought for sure in my mind he was the man of the match," RSL coach John Ellinger said.

Williams came out aggressively. In the first seven minutes, he had three good scoring opportunities, and his runs up the right side and the middle continued throughout the game. By halftime, Williams had racked up six shots. Unfortunately, only one of them was on the frame.

"He held the ball well," Ellinger said. "I wish he would have put some more of those shots on the inside of the post. . . . Andy did a number on them. He got in there enough. He just could have finished a little better."

After six first-half shots, Williams continued to fire away. He finished with a club-record 11 shots, including four on-goal. His 11 shots were only one off the MLS record of 12 held by Kansas City's Preki.

"My wife cursed me out that if I get the chance, I better shoot," Williams said. "At halftime they told me to keep it up, to keep shooting it. I've never been shy about taking a shot, so I kept at it."

It was a good thing he did. It was not until his eighth shot that he found the back of the net, and the goal put the team back into a tie with Chivas and gave it the momentum needed to push on for the win.

"I'm in a good groove right now," Williams said. "At the beginning of the year I was kind of injured, but I've been healthy for the last three or four games and am starting to play how I know I should."

Williams' on-the-ball skills have never been questioned. His abilities to pass, shoot and dazzle with his control and moves are among the best in the league. It was his work-rate that did not seem to be up to par at the beginning of the year. That appears to have all changed, and it is something that Real is going to need. The team will need efforts such as Saturday's if it is to catch Colorado for the last playoff spot.

"He was the best player on the field today," said Real goalkeeper D.J. Countess. "Andy Williams is very dangerous. He stepped up to the plate. We always believe in him, and (we) are very excited to see him play so well."


E-mail: mblack@desnews.com