Those among the 6,335 at Rio Tinto Stadium on Monday night to watch the RSL reserve squad take on BYU witnessed some special plays by a special player. That player was obviously a bit unrefined, but has skills that stood out at that level of competition and seem like they could apply at the first team level. That player was Colombian forward Olmes Garcia.
“He’s a gifted athlete and you could see that the explosion he has in his first step is fantastic,” said reserve team coach, Jeff Cassar. “It’s kind of just getting him on the same page with the rest of the guys and making sure that it’s not kind of a one-man show but he’s getting the same chances from within our system.”
Garcia was indeed, at times, a one-man show. On one occasion, he gathered the ball along the endline and had two defenders immediately on him, with another laying in wait. It appeared that his attacking foray was going to go nowhere, but somehow he split the two near defenders, gave a slight shiver to his right before exploding past the third defender toward the goal mouth. As the keeper took away the angle, he then tried to thread a cross in front of goal, but it was just poked away before finding the foot of a teammate. That play was exemplary of several seemingly impossible situations on the night that the youngster nearly turned into something.
“You could see how much talent he has,” said defender Chris Wingert, who saw his first action after coming off of a leg injury. “He’s so fast, and I think that’s something that the staff saw right away and bring him in maybe as a little bit of a project. He’s young, but man when he gets running at defenders he’s got a lot of juice. So you could see he was creating chances tonight and he’s only going to get better.”
If the 20 year-old transfer from Deportes Quindio can learn to reign his game in enough to work well within the context of the RSL system, there is no doubt that he’ll see significant playing time. I personally believe that he’d be a great player to combine with Alvaro Saborio. However, for now, there is no rush. The team signed the attacking player to a 5-year deal, and while some may be salivating at the prospect of him converting his raw potential into a refined product, it’s likely wise to give him some time to assimilate to this country, and the MLS version of the beautiful game.
What are your thoughts? Were you among those in attendance? What are your expectations of the youngster?