Bobby Wood made the move to MLS with hopes of getting back to regular playing time and scoring goals following an inconsistent spell with German club Hamburg, and now after scoring his first goal for Real Salt Lake, Wood is hoping to keep delivering positive moments for the club.
The veteran forward scored the second goal for RSL on Saturday night in an eventual 3-0 victory over Rocky Mountain Cup rivals, opening his goalscoring account in style. Wood, 28, has had to wait his chances in Freddy Juarez’s side since arriving from Hamburg, but after delivering an impressive goal in a bounce-back win for the club, has gained momentum heading into a busy stretch of matches.
“I just tried to go to the goal, really,” Wood said post match. “Tried to finish the play off. I think as a team we started off very hungry, and that’s why we got those runs. We were so aggressive pressing on them. And we had a good opportunity going forward and I tried to take advantage of that.”
Wood saw a William Yarbrough own goal hand RSL a 1-0 lead at Rio Tinto Stadium, before the American forward singlehandedly powered his way to the club’s second goal of the first half. Albert Rusnak played Wood upfield with a pass and the forward raced 40+ yards into Colorado’s side of the field before hitting a low drive past a diving Yarbrough.
TAKE IT YOURSELF, BOBBY WOOD.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 25, 2021
Wood’s night ended after only 55 minutes, his second-longest performance since arriving in MLS, but overall he did well to prove a point in only his second start for his new club.
“Honestly I didn’t really think about it,” Wood said about the pressure of not scoring prior in MLS. I was focused on getting my fitness and everything back. The club has been very patient with me and I’m grateful for that. They’ve welcomed me and that’s what this team is about. So I try to help the team as much as I can for the coaches and for the players. They just want me to work hard, and that’s what I try to do.”
Outside of his goal though, Wood struggled to get involved in the final third, fighting with the Rapids three center backs. His goal helped create some breathing room for RSL in front of their home fans, and Wood watched from the bench as Rubio Rubin came off the bench to add a third goal in the shutout win.
Wood’s first goal for RSL will surely give him confidence as the Western Conference club tries to push its way up the league standings. Up next for RSL is a three-match road trip beginning with a trip to the Houston Dynamo on July 31.
While tougher matches remain around the corner for RSL, Wood remains confident in his abilities and his teammates’ going forward.
“I’ll just stay hungry,” Wood said. “We had a very good game today. We fought hard and we have to keep that mentality as a team. I think that’s what we have to take out of this tough game today. Not make the mistakes that we made midweek of playing well and then just falling short.
“Today we came back and showed a good mentality,” Wood said. “That’s all we really need to keep doing. That’s what counts. All that matters is that mentality. And as a team we’re very good, so if we keep that mentality, we’ll get the points for sure.”