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Player Profiles, #3: Javier Morales, 34, continues performing at high level

Today we take a look at Javier Morales' season. And what a season it was.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Javier Morales had as good of a season as he has ever had with Real Salt Lake. He finished with more goals than he has ever scored in a season with nine and the second most assists in his career with 12. The only time he had more assists was in 2008 when he finished with 15. That is pretty good for a guy that is just about to turn 35. It's better than pretty good, it's eyebrow-raising.

Morales played more minutes in 2014 than he has played in his entire MLS career as well. Considering he pretty much has his ankle broken in half in half a few years ago, you have to be impressed if not completely surprised.

My favorite Javier Morales moment of the season was his hat trick against the Dynamo in Houston. He played like a man among boys in that game from the opening whistle with a goal about 17 seconds in. He never let of the gas and scored two more goals while creating for his teammates the rest of the way. You could also make a strong argument that his olimpico goal was the best moment of his 2014 season even though the goal was announced as Sebastian Jaime's in the moment which didn't quite give justice to what had just occurred.

There are no signs of Morales' skill level dropping off. It looks quite the contrary with his stat line only picking up pace. I contribute this to Morales playing smarter and having an increasingly higher soccer IQ. It seems like he understands the game so well that he can see things before they happen and executes accordingly. It will be fun to see what else he does in 2015.

Editor's note: This is part of a series of player profiles recapping the 2014 season and previewing the 2015 season. Player ratings were compiled via a vote by RSL Soapbox writers. Statistics are via