By TYLER GRAY
SANDY, Utah- Real Salt Lake were hungry. They didn’t forget the 2-0 defeat the last time the Los Angeles Galaxy were in town, and they made sure they wouldn’t repeat the same mistake twice.
Despite relinquishing the lead right before halftime, the hosts came out of the break determined to grab three points. Substitute striker Olmes Garcia led the way, notching a second-half brace to secure the 3-1 victory over the Galaxy on Saturday night.
RSL head coach Jason Kreis stressed all the little things this time against LA.
“We had a pretty stern talk yesterday about not making any silly mistakes,” Kreis said. “I feel like the last two matches that the Galaxy has been here, they won both of those matches and they won them because we gave them goals.”
This time around Kreis and Co. would make the Galaxy earn everything they got, and apart from Galaxy forward Landon Donovan’s spectacular goal in the 46th minute, RSL made good on their commitment.
“We came out hungry,” RSL right back Tony Beltran explained. “It was back and forth, especially in the first half but we came out and earned it.”
Garcia entered the match and demonstrated more of that same hunger. He chased down what seemed like every long ball and fought for every 50-50.
“You can tell that he’s just a kid that really wants to do well,” Kreis said. “He really wants to take the next step in his career. He’s been given a terrific opportunity to do that, and I think if he continues to show that kind of hunger and that kind of desire, he has all the tools.”
Garcia was rewarded for his hard work in the 84th minute when he signaled to midfielder Javier Morales, who played a perfect cross to Garcia. The young striker rose up and headed the ball into the back of the net to give RSL a 2-1 lead.
But Garcia wasn’t done yet. With the Galaxy pushing hard for the equalizer in the dying minutes of the match, RSL sprung a counter attack. Morales again played a perfect through ball to Garcia, who ran onto it and slipped the ball between the legs of Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Rowe to seal the 3-1 victory.
“We have a really good mix…every guy that is playing up there is doing a good job,” Morales said. “That is very important for a midfielder and for the team because they compete up there. Garcia did a great job tonight.”
Tonight’s goals were Garcia’s 3rd and 4th of the year, the first brace of his blossoming MLS career.
It was an impressive performance from the young striker whose head coach has said has all the tools.
“He’s an excellent dribbler,” Kreis said. “Excellent striker of the ball, excellent finisher, excellent with his head, excellent pace, excellent size. He’s got it all. For me, the only question mark would come down to desire and he’s showing that by the boatload.”
Garcia was all smiles in the locker room after the match, even joking with RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen.
“We are always a team,” Garcia explained. “And I am here to apply my skills and it’s my job to score.”
Job well done.
Here are the match highlights: