Nat Borchers, from 2008 to 2014, was one of Real Salt Lake’s most reliable players, appearing in 205 regular season matches and scoring 11 goals in that time.
Sure, the headline says top ten. But why would we stop there?
Because Borchers retired this year, we, the RSL Soapbox staff, got together to take you through his Real Salt Lake career. This list is unordered, because, hey, would you want to try to rank these? They’re all good. They’re all beautiful. They’re all special.
2009: vs. LA Galaxy
Nat Borchers proved he can score a goal with something other than his head. As a defender you are not necessarily known for having a finishing touch in the opponent’s 18-yard box, but Borchers was never just a defender. His ability to tuck the second attempt into the bottom far-corner is usually something only strikers do.
— Weston Jenson
2010: vs. Colorado Rapids
Scoring against your previous team from your home state might inspire a bit of an odd feeling. Of course, it also leveled out the match and the celebration shows the excitement of that equalizer. The placement, though. That’s one beautiful header. He’s not even looking.
— Andy Graff
2010: vs. New England
2010 was a very good year for Real Salt Lake — largely, you know — and this goal really exemplifies that. This is Nat Borchers’ head at its very best, and it’s hard to really sum up how good this was, except to say that HE WAS FACING THE OTHER WAY.
I mean, sure, soccer players do that every now and then. But he’s a center back. And this was so, so good.
— Matt Montgomery
2011: vs. Monterrey
First, so many memories from this time in RSL’s history. The excitement and anticipation for this match and the home leg — I remember it so vividly. Nat putting away this header was a moment that was very “Nat Borchers”. Finding himself in the right place at the right time he, not the strikers, got up for that header and tucked it perfectly into the corner of the net. It was a goal we needed right when we needed it. Typical Nat.
— Jake Simons
2011: vs. Toronto FC
Nat was not immune to putting RSL on the board first. He had a knack for finding a goal early when RSL needed it and his goal against Toronto exemplified that. 2011 was one of Salt Lake’s best years and Borchers did his part by contributing three goals. You can’t ask for much more from your center back in that department.
— Randal Serr
2011: vs. New York Red Bulls
Sitting on the far side of the field with one of my sons the first thought that came to mind was how could such an old guy with a funny gait manage to actually jump into the stands. Swiftly followed by how could he do something so stupid and leave us with Chris Schuler as a starter. It wasn’t even his first goal that season. The beard appeared and Schuler turned into a quality starter, but the funny gait and the little boy smile never went away.
— Dave Cheever
2011: vs. Sporting Kansas City
This goal comes in at about 2:20 on the video and provides the common “Header from Nat Borchers!” we all grew accustomed to hearing during his time here. It’s safe to say that we were spoiled by Nat, and if you don’t believe me, use these videos as proof. Anyone who can score a game-winning goal against our rivals deserves to go down in our heart’s hall of fame.
— CJ Guadarrama
2012: vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
This one came in the stoppage time to spoil the clean sheet for the ‘Caps, and it was a nice play all around. Great cross by Paulo, but even better work by the White Rhino to be aware of the ball coming in, forcing the defender to choose between two attackers, and calmly finishing to the bottom right.
2012: vs. FC Dallas
We saw Nat’s lethal headers time and time again, but some of my favorite goals were the few chances he got to bury it with his foot. Surprisingly for a center back, he had a really great shot as is seen in this goal against Dallas. Maybe in another life he could have played as a striker?
— Ryan Sanders
2013: vs. Portland Timbers
This goal against Portland (starts about 2:30 into the video) came from Morales fighting off Valeri in the corner to cross the ball back into traffic where Alvarez’s header is cleared by Ricketts, but only so far as Borchers. Nat is in a good position and able to tap it into the right side of the goal while Ricketts is still down. Great example of the team working together with a clean and composed finish by Nat.
— Lucas Muller
2014: vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
It seems fitting that Nat’s last goal in an RSL uniform was a classic flick on header, Nat's movement in the box always made him a threat on set pieces. RSL has struggled to replace that threat since his departure after the 2014 season.
— Zac Barnes