Sandy • Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis listed the young forward’s skills and attributes.
An excellent dribbler, a fine striker, and a good finisher with terrific size and speed.
“He has all the tools,” Kreis said of 20-year-old Olmes Garcia. “The only question would come down to desire, and he’s shown that by the boatloads.”
Garcia put the entire repertoire on display before nearly 19,000 fans at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday night, electrifying the crowd with a pair of second-half goals to lift RSL 3-1 over the rival Los Angeles Galaxy.
“I am here to apply my skills,” the Colombian said simply, through a translator after the match. “And this is my job: to score.”
After coming on for Robbie Findley in the 61st minute, Garcia went to work, tracking down and winning balls, making long runs and crossing into the box. The striker’s efforts were rewarded in the 84th minute, when he used his back to push a Javier Morales cross into the back of the net to give RSL a 2-1 lead over Los Angeles.
Garcia and Morales linked up again in stoppage time. Morales threaded a pass to a streaking Garcia, who beat Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Rowe to seal the game.
The victory moved RSL within one point of first-place FC Dallas in the West, and gave Salt Lake a marquee victory that had been lacking.
“We hadn’t gotten a convincing result against those types of opponents,” Kreis said. “This, I think, could be another step forward.”
RSL was embarrassed by Los Angeles during the Galaxy’s first trip to Rio Tinto Stadium this year. Real allowed two early goals and failed to beat Rowe, who was making his first career start, even once. But the loss has proved to be a turning point for RSL, which is now 6-1-1 across all competitions since the April 27 defeat.
Salt Lake controlled possession for the game and went up 1-0 thanks to midfielder Khari Stephenson’s first goal of the season. The score seemed to be coming throughout the first half. Stephenson ripped a shot from distance just high over the crossbar in the 22nd minute. Four minutes later, he pinged the post on a free kick from 30 yards out.
Stephenson finally broke through after taking a pass from Findley and driving a low show past Rowe in the game’s 44th minute.
“They gave me a chance to shoot and I’m going to shoot,” Stephenson said. “The guys on this team are confident in my shot. They say, ‘Shoot, Khari,’ I’m going to shoot.”
But L.A. answered back before the halftime whistle had blown.
Landon Donovan collected a ball that bounced off defender Nat Borchers and beat RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando to even the score.
“To give away a goal such as that right at halftime could be a real killer,” Kreis said.
RSL responded with a solid defensive effort in the second half, limiting Los Angeles to just two shots — none on target — in the final 45 minutes.
RSL 3, Galaxy 1
R Olmes Garcia scores two goals to move into a tie with veteran Alvaro Saborio for the team lead this season (4).