Jefferson Savarino setting out stall for 2023 MLS MVP campaign
Jefferson Savarino is in fantastic form at the moment for Real Salt Lake. He kept up his strong run of play against the Earthquakes as he scored a 95th minute equalizer when RSL drew with San Jose 2-2 on Saturday, July 30th.
It was a come-from-behind draw as RSL fell behind 1-0 early, equalized back to 1-1 on a goal from Jasper Loffelsend in the 21st minute before once again falling behind. Savarino then got the late equalizer as he controlled a pass from Justin Meram with his body before shooting the ball on the volley before it touched the ground. San Jose's keeper got a touch on the ball, but was unable to keep the shot from getting into the net.
While the draw isn't what RSL wanted heading into the match against bottom of the table San Jose, it has to be nice to see Savarino keep up this run of form.
Savarino has now scored five goals in his last eight matches. He also has three assists in that span. He has completed 80% of his passes over the eight matches, and has also made more than 20 key passes in the short span as well.
Savarino also has received an 8.0 or better match rating from FOTMOB for five of RSL's last eight matches (with one of the other three being a 7.8 rating). For the season (ten matches), Savarino has a rating of 7.56.
It's been an interesting journey for Savarino up to this point. He previously played for RSL from 2017-2019, totaling 21 goals and 21 assists across 82 matches. He was then sold to Atletico Mineiro where he played for roughly two years. RSL then brought Savarino back earlier this year as a Designated Player.
Savarino is one of the best players in MLS at this point in my opinion. He has a value of $8.80m on Transfermarkt, which is tied for the ninth most in the league. He's also as hot as just about any other player in the league at this point. Plus at just 25 years old, he is showing no signs of slowing down.
While Savarino hasn't played in enough matches this season to really be in the MLS MVP conversation, he is definitely in the conversation of the most dangerous players in the league right now. It wouldn't surprise me to see Savarino as one of the preseason favorites for the MVP award heading into next year.
Now to the other fact...RSL needs to play better. This was a team that was in a fantastic position heading into July, but picked up just five points in their six matches last month. I think it's just a coincidence that RSL's struggles have coincided with Savarino's hot streak. With him playing so well, RSL needs to take advantage of what he's doing in my opinion.
RSL currently sits fifth in the Western Conference as they have 34 points through 23 matches. They are still in a solid position in the table, but this recent slump have some RSL fans worried. They're in the middle of a tight race in the middle of the West. Third place through ninth in the West is currently separated by just six points with RSL right in the middle of that group. If RSL is going to make the playoffs out of that group then they need Savarino to keep up his current level of play, while also beginning to play better around him.