SANDY, Utah — Olmes Garcia came off the bench to score two late goals and propel Real Salt Lake to a 3-1 win over the LA Galaxy on Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium.
The Colombian forward came on as a substitute in the 58th minute, and immediately made an impact with his speed and long runs. And with the game still tied at 1-1, Garcia headed home the game-winner in the 84th minute, timing his run perfectly to beat his defender to a cross from playmaker Javier Morales.
The icing-on-the-cake tally came on another feed from Morales, this time on a breakaway in second-half stoppage time.
After a feeling-out period to start the game, things heated up after the first 20 minutes with both teams striking the woodwork. First it was RSL's Khari Stephenson nailing the left post on a free kick. Then LA's Jose Villarreal responded with a searing drive of his own that slammed against the crossbar, just moments after he tested Nick Rimando on a curling free kick.
It was the prelude to the fireworks at the end of the first half.
Stephenson came back to find the back of the net in the 44th minute with a right-footed blast from outside the box. LA 'keeper Brian Rowe was shielded on the play and couldn't react in time to stop the low drive.
Landon Donovan leveled things just two minutes later in first-half stoppage time. The Galaxy star challenged RSL central defender Nat Borchers on a header at the top of the box. The ball ricocheted between the two before landing perfectly for Donovan, who used textbook technique to bang a shot that beat Rimando to the far post.
The chances were few and far between in the second half as both teams applied suffocating pressure in the middle of the field. With the entrance of Garcia and fellow forward Devon Sandoval, RSL began throwing numbers forward late in the match with two brilliant finishes by Garcia ultimately deciding the match.
RSL are back in action on Wednesday when they host USL-Pro side Charleston Battery in the 4th round of the US Open Cup. The Galaxy, already eliminated from the Open Cup, have a league bye next weekend, returning to face the Portland Timbers at the StubHub Center on June 19.