Minutes after checking in to just his third MLS game last week at Vancouver, the 20-year-old Columbian forward took a pass from Javier Morales and blasted a 25-yard perfectly struck ball into the corner of the net for his first career MLS goal, setting off an explosion of emotion.
"It's something that I felt in this moment that was unexplainable," Garcia said through an interpreter. "It can't say the sensation that I felt in that moment."
"It was incredible," said defender Chris Wingert. "We were going nuts."
"After I saw the video at my house, I could see that it was a beautiful goal," Garcia said.
What happened next made the moment even more emotional. Garcia ripped off his RSL jersey, revealing a t-shirt with the picture of his Columbian friend, Alejandra Ramirez, who died last December from leukemia. Garcia wanted to dedicate his first goal to her.
"It was something that came to me from Columbia about a month ago," Garcia said. "I made a promise that I would wear it when I scored my first goal."
"He was just so happy," said fellow Columbian teammate Sebastian Velasquez. "When you get to know him, he's a very happy person. He had told me that was his dream to come in and score. I'm happy that his dream came true."
"I think that every goal is a joy," Garcia said. "But this one was special."
RSL hopes it is the first of many more to come. They signed Garcia to a 5-year contract hoping he can provide a scoring spark to the offense.
"It was a really good moment for him especially since he worked so hard for it," said head coach Jason Kreis. "So, I'm really pleased, but we need more."
Garcia is still adjusting to life in the MLS and life in Utah. But he seems to be enjoying his team here and is fitting in well.
"It is a very beautiful city that's very cold right now, but beautiful," Garcia said. "I'm happy and content to be here, and I'm honored to defend the colors of my [RSL] jersey."
Garcia and Real Salt Lake open a 3-game homestand Saturday at 7:00 p.m. against Chivas USA. The game can be seen on CW30.