Olmes Garcia

US Open Cup Snapshot: Sporting KC 3-1 Real Salt Lake

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The game in 100 words (or less): Sporting Kansas City booked their place in the 2015 US Open Cup final with a 3-1 victory over their old friends hated rivals Real Salt Lake at Sporting Park on Wednesday night. After losing to RSL twice and drawing once in league action this season, Sporting KC got their sweet, sweet revenge in what can only be described as the biggest game of the season (so far). Olmes Garcia gave the visitors their early lead, but goals from Soni Mustivar, Benny Feilhaber and Krisztian Nemeth were more than enough for Sporting to advance to the USOC final for the first time since their last triumph, in 2012. RSL came into the game well rested after sitting a number of regular starters in their league game on Saturday night, but withered in the game’s dying minutes nonetheless, as their four-games-in-three-countries-over-12-days road trip finally caught up to them. Sporting will face the Philadelphia Union in the USOC final at PPL Park on Sept. 30.

[ MORE: PHI 1-0 CHI in SF No. 1Week 23 MLS Team of the Week | Player of  the Week ]

Three moments that mattered

24′ — Garcia loses Ellis and beats Melia for the opener — Kevin Ellis found himself stuck in an all-time “do I stay or do I go” conundrum as Tony Beltran lofted a through ball behind the Sporting backline in the 24th minute. Ellis did a bit of both/neither, Garcia ran in on goal all be his lonesome and beat Tim Melia with a low finish. 1-0, RSL.

35′ — Mustivar’s first SKC goal draws the hosts level — Feilhaber assisted on his 17th goal of the season when Mustivar headed home a tantilizing, in-swinging free kick from close range. Mustivar got front side of Nick Rimando, beat his marker to the near post and it was quickly a tie ballgame again.

80′ — Feilhaber hammers home after Dwyer’s marathon run — Dom Dwyer used and abused RSL defender Elias Vasquez for all of 40 yards (in a very non-straight line) before pinging his eventual left-footed shot of the right-hand post of Rimando. The ball came straight back into the field of play where Feilhaber was the first to arrive and slam the loose ball into an empty net.

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Man of the match: Benny Feilhaber

Goalscorers: Garcia (24′), Mustivar (35′), Feilhaber (80′), Nemeth (85′)

MLS Snapshot: Real Salt Lake 2-2 Columbus Crew SC

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The game in 100 words (or less): Columbus Crew SC’s tiresome run of having not won a single game away from home continued on Saturday night, as they settle for a 2-2 draw with Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium, though Gregg Berhalter’s side did come from behind twice in the game to earn a solid road point and solidify their place as a playoff team in the Eastern Conference (fifth place). For the visitors, it was more of the same old story — going down early and playing from behind suits their attacking mindset to a T, but continues to hold them back and forces them to settle for a point when three were possible with just a bit more focus and thought given to the defensive end of the field. Meanwhile, RSL sit in eighth in the Western Conference, three points out of the sixth and final playoff place.

[ MORE: Previewing the rest of Rivalry Week ]

Three moments that mattered

36′ — RSL take the lead with set-piece magic — “Magic” doesn’t even do this exquisite set-piece routine justice. It went Luke Mulholland’s -> Kyle Beckerman’s foot -> Joao Plata’s head -> Olmes Garcia’s foot -> back of the net. Just watch this beauty.

46′ — Jaime keeps the play alive, gets rewarded — Sebastian Jaime would not let the play die when Emanuel Pogatetz looked to be ushering a long, bouncing ball back to goalkeeper Steve Clark. Jaime chased the ball endlessly, won it off Pogatetz and chipped it past Clark from just outside the penalty area.

62′ — Finlay grabs Crew SC’s second equalizer of the game — Kei Kamara fed Federico Higuain out wide, where the Argentine drove toward the endline, crossed to the back post and Ethan Finlay finished with ease. A classic Crew SC goal.

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Man of the match: Ethan Finlay — Another goal and another assist for Finlay, who now has three and nine on the season, respectively. So capable of operating in all areas of the attacking third — out wide and through the center — he’s a nightmare to track and mark.

LINEUPS

Real Salt Lake: Rimando, Mansally (Allen 67′), Kavita, Maund, Beltran, Beckerman, Mulholland, Plata (Okwuonu 80′), Gil, Garcia, Jaime (Sandoval 67′)

Goals: Garcia (36′), Jaime (46′)

Columbus Crew SC: Clark, Francis (Wahl 81′), Pogatetz, Parkhurst, Jimenez (Barson 62′), Tchani, Saeid, Meram (Steindorsson 67′), Higuain, Finlay, Kamara

Goals: Tchani (42′), Finlay (62′)

MLS Snapshot: Portland Timbers 0-0 Real Salt Lake

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The game in 100 words (or less): Foul. Foul. Foul. Yellow card. Foul. Foul. Foul. Yellow card. That was the first half, essentially. Both the Portland Timbers and Real Salt elected to play some actual soccer in the second half, and it turned out to be a pretty entertaining game. Everything was manufactured on the counter attack, and neither team looked anywhere mid-season form.

[ READ: PST’s 2015 team-by-team MLS previews ]

Three moments that mattered

53′ — Rimando doing Rimando things — How many points has Nick Rimando singlehandedly (sometimes double-handedly, as he’s a goalkeeper) saved for RSL over the years? His save of Rodney Wallace’s shot from six yards out, through traffic was spectacular, but nothing beyond the norm for the greatest MLS ‘keeper of all-time.

80′ &  81′ — Adi and Garcia fire high after counters — Darlington Nagbe presented Fanendo Adi with a decent goalscoring opportunity on one end, while Javier Morales played the best ball you’ll see this weekend, splitting a half-dozen Timbers defense en route to Olmes Garcia at the top of the Portland penalty area. Garcia’s subsequent shot landed roughly 15 rows up at Providence Park.

90+3′ — Sheer madness in the RSL penalty area — How did the Timbers not score in the final seconds of this game. They got off three shots during a frantic penalty-area scramble that saw Rimando punch clear once, Chris Schuler block one and head clear at least twice. In the end, no dice for the Timbers, but oh so close in the final seconds.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

LINEUPS

Portland Timbers: Kwarasey, Powell, Borchers, Ridgewell, Villafaña, Jewsbury, Fochive (Nanchoff 86′), Asprilla (Fernandez 62′), Nagbe, Wallace, Adi (Urruti 82′)

Real Salt Lake: Rimando, Beltran, Olave, Schuler, Mansally, Beckerman, Gil (Sandoval 88′), Morales, Jaime (Mulholland 64′), Saborio, Garcia (Allen 81′)

Olave suspended two matches, Cahill and Morales fined for incident Wednesday

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There’s plenty of opinions surrounding the incident Friday between the New York Red Bulls and Real Salt Lake, but Major League Soccer has made its thoughts known, and that’s the only opinion that matters.

Red Bulls defender Jámison Olave has been suspended two games for his grab below Olmes Garcia’s belt, which MLS deemed “violent conduct.”

The grab is unquestionably there when you look at video replay, but referee Mark Geiger failed to punish Olave during the game.

Geiger did give Garcia a yellow card for simulation, after he pretty clearly embellished the incident.

It provoked a scuffle between Tim Cahill and Javier Morales just above Garcia in a crumpled heap, and the pair received fines “for violating the League’s policy regarding hands to the face/head of an opponent.”  Morales, defending his player from Cahill’s wrath, placed his hands on the Australian’s neck, and Cahill shoves back.

The question now becomes will MLS suspend Geiger, who failed to punish the initial incident by Olave, which admittedly was a swift and clandestine one that may have been difficult to see from any given angle. There was no mention of the 39-year-old referee in the MLS release today.

Geiger this summer became the first American referee to officiate a World Cup knockout round match.

Our newest pick for “Young MLS player we are not talking enough about:” Olmes Garcia

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I happened to be around some Real Salt Lake officials in Arizona on the winter day they welcomed Olmes Garcia, a 20-year-old Colombian forward just purchased at an apparently economical price from Deportes Quindío.

You could see that they wanted to talk up their young prospect and tell me – tell anybody who wanted to listen, probably – about this kid’s huge upside. But you could also tell they were running the complex calculations and the mapping out the tricky territory ahead for talented youngsters.

Put too much on these guys and, well …. ever heard of Freddy Adu? (It shouldn’t be lost on anyone that Real Salt Lake is among Adu’s former stomping grounds, one of the places where the world just put too much on the kid, way too early.) But ask too little of young stars or reap scant production and the chattering class begins wondering what the heck is going on?  Who is making these critical choices? Why pay a transfer fee (still fairly rare in MLS) for a guy who isn’t helping chalk up the Ws?

Now Garcia, just named MLS Player of the Week, is slowly proving his worth – which means it’s getting harder to avoid him as topical discussion.  Just ask the L.A. Galaxy, undone by two second half goals Saturday in Utah, where the home team prevailed 3-1.

What RSL manager Jason Kreis said late Saturday about Garcia:

I think if he continues to show that kind of hunger, that kind of desire, he has all the tools. He’s an excellent dribbler, excellent striker of the ball, excellent finisher, excellent with his head, excellent pace, excellent size. He’s got it all — he’s got it all. For me, the only question mark would come down to desire, and he’s showing that by the boatloads.”

You could sure see the pace on Saturday as he cruised by Galaxy defenders and worked hard to get into good spots. You could see the size as he holds off a Galaxy defender and muscles his way in for the game-winner.  (All that size and pace is all the better to be spotted by Javier Morales, who keeps looking more and more like his old self around Rio Tinto; he was definitely large and in charge Saturday against the Galaxy.)

It will be increasingly difficult for fans, media, teammates and coaches not to get excited about a guy who now shares the team lead with four goals despite making just three MLS starts.

Here are Garcia’s two goals, among the  highlight pack for Saturday’s 3-1 win over the  two-time defending champs:

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