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Real Salt Lake: Paulo Jr. impressive in MLS debut

Published: Saturday, March 26 2011 11:10 p.m. MDT

Galaxy vs. Real boxscore

SANDY — With RSL missing its leading scorer from 2010 on Saturday, the L.A. Galaxy probably fancied their chances against Real Salt Lake.

Instead, though, they got an introduction to Paulo Jr., RSL's 22-year-old Brazilian speedster.

Making his first-ever MLS start, and second in team history, Paulo Jr. was marvelous on the attack finishing with a goal, an assist and also setting up the Javier Morales' penalty kick.

"He was really, really good when we had the ball. Tonight in the first half, I thought he was dangerous every time he touched it and every time he was around it. Obviously he made a lot of things happen," said RSL coach Jason Kreis.

Defensively Kreis wasn't all that pleased with the youngster, but knows it's a work in progress.

"It's something that players that come into our system have to learn, and it takes a while," said Kreis.

Paulo Jr. assisted on Williams early strike in the second minute, and then scored his own goal in the 68th minute.

RSL captain Kyle Beckerman liked what he saw out there.

"He played fantastic. His movement is a little different than Sabo. That gives us a good dynamic to have, a little change up so you don't know what's coming at you," he said.

Through a translator, Paulo Jr. said he's tried to work hard in training all year to be ready when opportunities like Saturday's present themselves.

READY TO ROLL: There was concern whether a hobbled Nick Rimando or Jamison Olave would be healthy enough to play in Real Salt Lake's marquee match with Los Angeles on Saturday night.

Both put those fears to rest during their pregame fitness test, and both were in the starting 11.

Following Friday's training session Rimando sounded confident that he'd play, but admitted it was painful to kick the ball. He suggested reluctantly that he might need a defender take goal kicks for him, but he took them all the entire game.

"It held up good in the first half, it was hard to get at that wind. It held up in the second half, got a little sore but I think that's just from constant kicking and hitting," said Rimando, who opted not to take a cortisone injection prior to the match.

SECOND FASTEST: Williams' goal just 1:24 into Saturday's match was fast, but not the fastest in team history.

Back in August of 2007, Mantias Mantilla scored 40 seconds into a match against Kansas City at Rice Eccles Stadium. Javier Morales delivered the assist in what was his first match in an RSL uniform.

Saturday night was Morales' 98th match with RSL in all competitions, and he's upped his career assist total to 36.

Real Salt Lake's other 2nd-minute goal in team history was scored by Robbie Findley against Columbus in 2009.

The fastest goal ever conceded by RSL was in 2007 when Maykel Galindo scored for Chivas USA 28 seconds into a match at the Home Depot Center.

TEENAGE DEBUT: Things were going so good for Real Salt Lake, 17-year-old midfielder Luis Gil got into the match replacing Paulo Jr. in the 77th minute.

"Luis is somebody I've been really, really pleased with throughout the whole preseason, throughout every single training session," said Kreis. "I'm seeing real, real big steps forward in his game and in his development, and I have been wanting now for a while to reward him and get him some minutes and tonight was the perfect opportunity."

e-mail: jedward@desnews.com

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