SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake (8-5-3, 27 points, West #2) extended its unbeaten streak to five games across all competitions on Saturday night, getting a late brace from FW Olmes Garcia to beat the LA Galaxy (6-6-2, 20 points, West #5) 3-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Garcia blew things open in the final 10 minutes, putting RSL up 2-1 with a fine headed goal in the 84th minute before scoring the Claret-and-Cobalt’s third goal to ice the game in second half stoppage time. Real Salt Lake MF Khari Stephenson opened the scoring in the 44th minute only for LA FW Landon Donovan to equalize in first half stoppage time.
Real Salt Lake is now 6-1-1 across all competitions since losing 2-0 to LA at Rio Tinto Stadium on April 27. The Claret-and-Cobalt is now just one point back of Western Conference foe FC Dallas in the Supporters’ Shield race and is third in MLS in points per game, trailing only the Montreal Impact and Dallas.
RSL controlled most of Saturday’s match, outshooting LA 17-8 and holding a 60.1-39.9 percent possession advantage over the Galaxy. The Utah side started brightly, registering the first chance of the game in the fifth minute. MF Javier Morales slipped FW Joao Plata through in the left side of the box, allowing the diminutive attacker to fire a 10-yard effort on frame that LA GK Brian Rowe blocked.
The Claret-and-Cobalt had another decent look in the 22nd minute. MF Ned Grabavoy collected a ball near the top of the box and laid a pass back to Stephenson, who rifled a shot just over the bar from 25 yards out.
Stephenson came even closer to giving RSL the lead in the 26th, ripping a free kick off the post from 30 yards out. Grabavoy touched the dead ball to the powerful Jamaican, who ran onto it in the middle of LA’s defensive third and ripped a low right-footer past Rowe and off the inside of the left post.
LA rattled the woodwork just three minutes later. FW Jose Villarreal collected a ball on the break and blasted a 30-yard left-footer over RSL GK Nick Rimando and off the bar.
Villarreal had another chance in the 37th minute. The U.S. Under-20 international stepped to a LA free kick just outside the arc, curling a left-footer toward the top left corner that Rimando parried away nicely.
Stephenson put RSL on top in the 44th minute, collecting a FW Robbie Findley pass from the left wing in the middle and blasting a low right-footer toward the left post. Rowe got a hand to the 25-yarder but couldn’t keep it out, palming the ball inside the left side netting as the Claret-and-Cobalt went up 1-0.
Unfortunately, RSL couldn’t see out the half, giving up an equalizer deep into stoppage time. Donovan scored for LA, collecting the ball just inside the right side of the 18 after an unlucky bounce off of RSL DF Nat Borchers and slamming a half-volley inside the far post to tie the game 1-1.
The second half started quietly, with neither side registering a chance until RSL had a decent look in the 59th minute. Findley had the opportunity, collecting a long ball in the left side of the box and cutting in on his right foot before hitting a 15-yarder that Rowe saved.
RSL had another opportunity in the 64th. Garcia – who came in for Findley in the 61st minute – played a neat through ball from the top of the box to Morales in the right side of the area, setting up the Argentine playmaker for a good look at goal. Unfortunately, Morales couldn’t take advantage, slipping slightly before hitting a shot wide of the near post.
LA had its best chance of the second half in the 81st minute. Substitute MF Robbie Rogers got to the end line in the left side of the box, hitting a low left-footed ball across the face of goal. Donovan got an outstretched foot to the ball, but couldn’t quite keep his shot on frame, sending the difficult chance wide of the right post.
Garcia gave RSL the lead in the 84th minute. RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman laid a ball to Morales on the left wing, allowing him to curl a cross into the middle. Garcia used his strength to muscle past a LA defender and get on the end of it, flicking his header inside the right post to put the Claret-and-Cobalt up 2-1.
Garcia killed the game off in the 92nd minute. Substitute FW Devon Sandoval started the play, finding Morales in the middle of the field on the break. Morales quickly played Garcia through, slipping the 20-year-old Colombian behind the LA defense with a marvelous through ball. Garcia did the rest, dribbling into the box and putting his shot through Rowe’s legs to give RSL the 3-1 lead.
RSL will return to action on Wednesday, when it will host the USL Pro Charleston Battery in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup fourth round. Tickets to Wednesday’s 7:30 p.m. kickoff are still available and can be purchased at the Rio Tinto Stadium box office, online at www.RealSaltLake.com/Tickets or over the phone at 801-727-2700. The Claret-and-Cobalt will return to MLS action on June 22, when it will host Seattle Sounders FC at 7:30 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes – RSL 3-1 LA
- Real Salt Lake has now scored 17 goals in its last seven MLS matches and 20 goals in its last eight games across all competitions. RSL’s 24 goals in league play are tied for the most in MLS with the Portland Timbers.
- Real Salt Lake MF Khari Stephenson on Saturday night became the 10th RSL player to score in league play this year. The Claret-and-Cobalt had 10 scorers in league play in the entire 2012 season; RSL will hit the halfway point of its MLS season following its next league game on June 22 against Seattle Sounders FC.
- Real Salt Lake MF Javier Morales had two assists on Saturday night. He now has five assists this year and seven assists in 13 career regular season games against LA.
- Saturday’s game was the second-consecutive MLS match and third-straight game across all competitions that saw RSL score three goals.
- RSL FW Olmes Garcia’s two-goal game was the third multi-goal game by a RSL player this year. FW Alvaro Saborio had a brace in RSL’s 2-0 win at the San Jose Earthquakes on March 3 and MF Ned Grabavoy scored twice in the Claret-and-Cobalt’s 4-1 win at Chivas USA on May 19.
- Garcia now has four MLS goals in just 401 minutes in league play, good for a rate of about 0.9 goals per 90 minutes. Garcia has also hit the post four times this season.
REAL SALT LAKE 3–1 LA GALAXY
SATURDAY, JUNE 8, 2013
RIO TINTO STADIUM
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 1 2 3
LA Galaxy 1 0 1
RSL – Khari Stephenson (Robbie Findley) – 44’
LA – Landon Donovan – 45+1’
RSL – Olmes Garcia (Javier Morales, Kyle Beckerman) – 84’
RSL – Olmes Garcia (Javier Morales, Devon Sandoval) – 90+2’
RSL – Kyle Beckerman (Foul; Yellow) – 54’
RSL – Chris Wingert (Foul; Yellow) – 79’
LA – Marcelo Sarvas (Foul; Yellow) – 90+1’
Real Salt Lake (4-1-2-1-2): Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Nat Borchers, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Chris Wingert; Kyle Beckerman (C); Ned Grabavoy, Khari Stephenson (Sebastian Velasquez, 71’); Javier Morales; Joao Plata (Devon Sandoval, 79’), Robbie Findley (Olmes Garcia, 61’)
Substitutes not used: Josh Saunders (GK), Yordany Alvarez, Carlos Salcedo, Lovel Palmer
LA Galaxy (4-3-3): Brian Rowe; Sean Franklin, Tommy Meyer, A.J. DeLaGarza, Greg Cochrane; Marcelo Sarvas, Juninho, Michael Stephens (Hector Jimenez, 84’); Gyasi Zardes, Jose Villarreal (Robbie Rogers, 71’), Landon Donovan (C)
Substitutes not used: Brian Perk (GK), Rafael Garcia, Bryan Gaul, Kofi Opare, Charlie Rugg
Referee: Drew Fischer
Assistant Referees: Mike Kampmeinert, Colin Arblaster
4th Official: Jesus Cisneros
Weather: Clear and 80 degrees