HERRIMAN — Jefferson Savarino has made an impact in his second season for Real Salt Lake just in time for the playoffs.
The 21-year-old Venezuelan native was picked up on a loan from Zulia in May of 2017. Since then, he has logged 11 goals in 3,986 minutes.
In RSL's most recent match against the Colorado Rapids, Savarino stole the spotlight by scoring two of the team's six goals and logging one assist to help seal the Rocky Mountain Cup.
With joy, always moving forward and very thankful to God that we have been able to obtain two victories in a row and now we have to keep working to keep it that way. – Jefferson Savarino
The 6-0 win was the biggest margin of victory in the 43-game series between the rival teams.
Savarino's first goal came in the 33rd minute to put RSL ahead 2-0. The second goal came in the 58th minute and later the assist to Corey Baird.
“I think it’s due to the patience I’ve had in all the matches," Savarino said of his performance. "In the early games it was probably very regular and thanks to God now they have come and I have been enjoying it.”
Saturday's performance paired with an assist in Houston has earned him a spot on the MLS Team of the Week two weeks in a row. To top it off, he was highlighted as the top-rated Audi Index Player two weeks in a row.
While the rankings give Savarino national recognition, head coach Mike Petke is more concerned about Savarino's contribution to the team and development as a young player.
"I don't need an Audi Index Performance of the Week or the Team of the Week from people sitting in an office to justify how good of a player he really is," Petke said. "...for me, it's a lot more about what Savarino does for us and the two goals he scored and the assist he had against Colorado."
The team's ability to secure six points on the road has helped push it further into the playoff race. RSL sits in fourth place in the West with a 12-10-5 record and 41 points — just five points behind top-rated FC Dallas.
"With joy, always moving forward and very thankful to God that we have been able to obtain two victories in a row and now we have to keep working to keep it that way," Savarino said.
Savarino will be a key piece in Saturday's home game against the LA Galaxy. He will likely be placed at starting forward again.
The two teams will kick off at Rio Tinto Stadium at 8 p.m.