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Press releaseSANDY -- Real Salt Lake midfielder Javier Morales was rewarded for his two-goal, one-assist effort in his squad's MLS First Kick opener last Saturday at San Jose by being voted as the first recipient of the MLS Player of the Week award for the 2010 campaign by the North American Soccer Reporters.
Morales began his dominating performance at Buck Shaw Stadium by opening the scoring in the 14th minute with a stunning strike from distance. With two deft touches, Morales controlled a pass from FW Fabián Espíndola and, from 30 yards out, blasted a swerving volley into the upper-right corner of the goal past San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper Joe Cannon to give the Utah side an early advantage on the road.
The Argentine playmaker would play distributor in the 27th minute, when Morales recovered an attempted clear by Earthquakes defender Jay Hernandez and chipped the ball through the defense his countryman Espíndola, who doubled RSL's lead with a lob over an onrushing Cannon.
Morales added his second goal of the evening off of an RSL free kick opportunity at the top of the 18-yard box in the 54th minute. Reminiscent of a similar free kick goal he struck at Buck Shaw during the 2008 season, Morales rocketed a shot into the upper right hand corner for the defending MLS Cup Champions' third and final goal of the night, helping the squad equal the largest margin of victory on the road in club history.
This is Morales' second career Player of the Week award, with the other coming in Week 6 (April 22-26) last season. The defending MLS Cup Champions have two "consecutive" MLS Players of the Week, as FW Robbie Findley captured the honor in the final week of the 2009 regular season. This marks the 13th Player of the Week honor awarded to a Real Salt Lake in its now six seasons of play, with Jeff Cunningham earning the honor a franchise-high five times; Findley and Morales each being named twice; and Espíndola, Pablo Campos, Chris Klein, and Yura Movsisyan all collecting the award once in an RSL uniform.
(Courtesy Real Salt Lake)