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Alvaro Saborio returns; Alvaro Saborio scores a goal

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

As simple as you like, really. Alvaro Saborio returned from an injury layoff that kept him out for just over three months, and it only took three seconds (or, well, technically more or perhaps less) to find the back of the net.

A corner from — who else — Javier Morales, taken well (but if we're to be honest, it wasn't anything incredible. We're spoiled, though, that a nice, high, looping corner kick placed perfectly isn't anything special, aren't we?) and a header from Saborio — flicked from the side or maybe the back. And perfectly, too.

Today, we're happy we have Alvaro Saborio back in contention. Our run-in to the end isn't tough, but we're playing teams that might be scrapping for a fifth place finish: Vancouver, Colorado, Portland, San Jose. With seven games left, only Chivas — twice, no less — present something that looks anything like an open match opportunity.

If you could have asked for anything in the buildup to the playoffs, it might've been to have Alvaro Saborio return to action. His presence on the pitch as the pivot around which our midfield attacks and another striker moves allows us to return to a familiar mode of play — one we're built for.

That's the interesting part: We've been playing for the past three months and trying to feel out the way we play without a striker like Saborio. Nobody on the team fits that bill. Devon Sandoval might fit the physical build, but he's a raw, young player. Robbie Findley has come closest, but it's been a rough transition. Naturally so, because it's not the sort of player Findley has ever been.

When we can't break down a team in the run of play, there are few better opportunities than a corner to change the course of the match. Having Alvaro Saborio back in the mix — and we saw this tonight — changes that significantly.

It's not going to get easier from here. The season's nearing a close. But as we hit this stretch — one that, if we play our cards right, could see us with with slightly more than a sliver (but only just) of a chance at the Supporters Shield — having Saborio back boosts our chances and hopes.