Javier Morales’ 80th minute goal Saturday night amazingly was his first since scoring in Monterrey last April.
He celebrated by taking off his jersey to reveal a birthday wish to his 1-year-old niece on his undershirt. It cost him a yellow card, and even though it may contribute to a suspension later in the year, with everything he’s endured in the past 11 months, it may have been one of his most satisfying goal celebrations ever.
As pleased as RSL coach Jason Kreis was to see Morales score, he said he’s a bit nervous after his all-star midfielder picked up a bit of knock to his knee late in the match.
“Cross my fingers and hold my breath that nothing’s wrong with him,” said Kreis.
Justifiably so, RSL fans were heaping lots of praise on Luis Gil and Sebastian Velasquez after the game for their efforts against the Galaxy.
Surprisingly, it was the more experienced Gil and not Velasquez who came off when Morales entered the match in the 67th minute. Kreis said it had to do with protecting Gil. The 18 year old has been dealing with a foot bruise that he picked up in Tucson, and Kreis didn’t want to push him too hard in the first game of the year.
RSL keeper Nick Rimando praised both for their contributions.
“It’s a different game Monday through Friday on the training field. When the lights come on, are you going to show up or not? These kids showed up tonight,” said Rimando.
As for that bright orange jersey he was required to wear, Rimando said, “I hate it. It’s terrible.”
He joked that he’s excited to give them away after matches, that way when he runs out he won’t have to wear them anymore.