Alvaro Saborio spent five seasons with Real Salt Lake rising to the top of the franchise's all-time scoring list and becoming one of the most feared offensive threats in MLS.
It didn't take long for Saborio to make his presence felt when he was traded to D.C. United, and he'll now look to help prevent his former club from winning a third straight match Saturday night in D.C.
Saborio's 63 goals and 21 game-winning goals are the most in RSL history, but Salt Lake (7-7-8) traded the 33-year-old forward to D.C. for Luis Silva on July 16. Saborio was dealing with a personal issue not long before the trade, but he didn't report back when expected and was suspended for a match.
Facing his former teammates for the first time doesn't exactly have him reminiscing, though. Saborio said he's not an emotional person and plans to say hello to his friends still with RSL, but that he'll do so on the field after the game.
For now, Saborio is focused on helping United (11-7-5) increase its seven-point lead atop the Eastern Conference after it snapped a three-match winless stretch in Saborio's debut.
D.C. allowed the match's first two goals Sunday against Philadelphia before Saborio scored in the 37th minute. Nick DeLeon scored in the 66th before Fabian Espindola, who was teammates with Saborio from 2010-12 with Real Salt Lake, scored the winner in the 79th.
"It felt great working with (Espindola) and I think he was also happy with me," Saborio said. "I think that (the coaching staff) understands we can play with each other very well."
Salt Lake believes it is prepared to contain the pair. It has gotten along just fine without Saborio, beating Houston 2-0 on July 18 before a 2-1 win over Sporting Kansas City on July 24 following a 0-2-2 stretch.
"He did a lot of good things for us here, scored a lot of goals," captain Kyle Beckerman said. "Now it's going to be our turn to try and stop him. I'm sure he'll be up for the game, but all of these games are so important no matter who is on the other side."
Silva last played July 4 because of a groin injury. Coach Jeff Cassar said that Silva, who had one goal in 14 matches with United, has been progressing well and could make his RSL debut against his former team.
Any added depth would be helpful given the difficult stretch coming up. Salt Lake, which has lost five straight on the road, is beginning a four-game, 14-day road trip during which it will play in three different countries.
Following this contest, RSL travels to Guatemala City for Tuesday's CONCACAF Champions League match against Municipal. Salt Lake then faces Vancouver next Saturday in MLS play before an Aug. 12 date with Sporting Kansas City in U.S. Open Cup action.
Salt Lake, sixth in the West, won the last meeting with United 3-0 on Aug. 9. However, it has never won at D.C., getting outscored 17-5 while going 0-5-3.