Rookie forward Olmes Garcia scored his first career MLS goal in the 66th minute to put the Claret-and-Cobalt ahead, curling an absolutely gorgeous 20-yard shot into the top right corner from the left side of the box.
“I’m really happy because they gave me the opportunity and I’ve been working for it," said Garcia. "I dedicate the goal to my family, the coaches and the fans from RSL.”
Garcia ripped off his jersey to reveal a picture of a friend of his who died in December.
But after Nat Borchers slipped and was called for a hand ball in the box, Vancouver forward Camilo tied the match in the 84th minute burying a penalty kick.
"In the second half, we were losing our footing back there," Borchers said. "I'm not sure if they put some extra water back in the penalty box to do that or what."
“The handball, I don’t know; it’s questionable," said goalkeeper Nick Rimando. "Sometimes the ref will call it, sometimes they won’t but it’s not intentional so you can go back and forth with that. I thought we played a good defense, we were organized. Garcia had a fantastic goal and it would have felt good to get three points but we’re OK with one.”
RSL started the match on the back foot, ceding a number of early opportunities. Vancouver had its first chance in the ninth minute, when Y.P. Lee uncorked a blast from the right side of the box toward the far post that Rimando parried out for a corner kick.
Rimando came up huge on the ensuing corner, making a double save on Camilo before the Brazilian attacker fired over from close range. Camilo got on the end of Vancouver DF Brad Rusin’s header eight yards out, heading shot on goal that Rimando saved. Camilo picked up the rebound, hitting a shot that Rimando stopped before picking up another rebound and sending his third effort over the bar.
"Rimando has just been electrifying for us at the beginning of the year," said head coach Jason Kreis. "Typically he takes a little longer to get going, but he’s been amazing. He’s kept us in multiple games now, giving us a chance to pick up points. So hat’s off to him.”
Real Salt Lake was dealt a blow in the 31st minute, when captain Kyle Beckerman had to be subbed off due to a slight rib injury.
“Kyle had picked up an injury actually on Thursday and it was real questionable as to whether we were going to play him," Kreis said. "But credit to Kyle, he wants to play through everything. As he said yesterday: ‘if I feel I don’t have a broken bone, I should play.’ So, big credit to him and I appreciate his courage but coaches got to do better now.”
RSL had its first good move of the game in the 35th minute, when forward Joao Plata had a goal called back for offside.
RSL’s next chance came in the 50th minute. After some nice combination play in the area, Plata hit a short cross from the left side of the box to Alvaro Saborio at the near post, with the Costa Rican international toe-poking his close-range effort off of a Vancouver player and out for a corner kick.
Rimando made another huge save in the 55th minute. Vancouver midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker collected a Rimando punch near the top of the box, slamming a shot on goal that Rimando made a very nice diving stop on.
Garcia put RSL ahead with a marvelous goal in the 66th. The 20-year-old Colombian collected a Morales pass on the left wing, cutting in on his right foot before curling a delectable 20-yard effort inside the far post. The world-class goal was Garcia’s first in MLS after signing with RSL this preseason.
“I like that they got better," said Kreis about his team. "I like that we were really under at the beginning of the game, we struggled, and rather than folding up shop and allowing a goal and could have probably multiple goals at that point, the guys stayed pretty focused. It was a pretty mature performance. They just got better and better as the game went on…Any time you walk out of a place with a point, that’s a result and it’s that kind of result you’re going to need towards the end of the season.”
RSL, now 2-3-2 on the year, plays its next three matches at Rio Tinto Stadium beginning April 20th against Chivas USA.