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RSL's reserves finish first-team job, defeat Colorado 2-1

Douglas C. Pizac-USA Today Sport

Real Salt Lake's reserves continued their winning ways with a 2-1 victory over Colorado Rapids at Rio Tinto Stadium, with rookie striker Devon Sandoval and academy player Coco Navarro the decisive factors in the victory.

Sandoval, who played in the only-just-preceding first-team match, scored after fighting with Rapids goalkeeper Steward Ceus for the ball and beating a defender who had slotted over to cover after Ceus flubbed his save. His slotted finish puts him in with two goals in two reserves games.

Olmes Garcia again saw 45 minutes of play as his integration into the team continues, and throughout, he looked a cut above Colorado's defensive line. He hit the bar with what seemed a difficult shot to attempt at the time, and he looked dangerous on the counter — particularly when he sprang academy prospect Coco Navarro for the second goal.

Navarro, who played at the top of the diamond, is committed to play at Marquette University, but on the back of his strong performance, there are certain to at least be conversations involving his name between Jason Kreis and Garth Lagerwey. Navarro has been a goalscoring machine for the RSL-AZ academy — Navarro's finish on the counter was incredibly calm — it is clear why he scores in bucket loads. Navarro also trained with Real Salt Lake during preseason.

Midfielder John Stertzer saw red for what may have been a clean challenge (it's difficult to say definitively, as it was on the other side of the pitch from my seat), but it never seemed Real Salt Lake was playing a man down.

Nat Borchers, veteran defender, completed about 70 minutes as he works his way back from an injury that claimed his entire preseason. He looked strong throughout.

Also notable was Lalo Fernandez's appearance, which came not at goalkeeper, but at forward. He did look a bit lost up top, but he had some surprising moments of control on the ball. Josh Saunders played the first half in goal, while Jeff Attinella played in the second. Neither were too troubled, and Attinella wasn't at fault for the second-half Rapids goal.

Lineup

Josh Saunders (Jeff Attinella, 46'); Carlos Salcedo (John Stertzer, 45'), Aaron Maund, Nat Borchers (Lalo Fernandez, 69'), Abdoulie Mansally; Yordany Alvarez; Enzo Martinez, Cole Grossman; Ned Grabavoy (Coco Navarro*, 46'); Devon Sandoval, Joao Plata (Olmes Garcia, 46')