Real Salt Lake's season-opening victory culminated in a post-match flaring of tempers when goalkeeper David Ochoa, in an opposing defender's words, acted like "a bit of a clown."
When the final whistle blew on a 2-1 win against Minnesota United FC at Allianz Field in Saint Paul, Minnesota, RSL keeper David Ochoa turned and booted the ball into the stands behind him. It was toward the Minnesota United support section called the Wonderwall.
Ochoa, making only his second MLS start, walked to center pitch to greet teammates and was met by MNUFC midfielder Hassani Dotson, his U-23 U.S. national teammate. Ochoa ignored him, Dotson pushed Ochoa and another MNUFC player came in to push an RSL player nearby.
More shoving ensued for the next few minutes. Team personnel helped Ochoa off the field as the opponents kept chirping.
Minnesota's coach responds to Ochoa's action
Minnesota United head coach Adrian Heath was asked about it on the post-game show with the play-by-play crew.
"The goalkeeper just turned and booted the ball into the fans toward our supporters, which is a no-no. We all know that," Heath said. "He's got some edge on him for a kid that's not that good. It is what it is."
Minnesota play-by-play announcer Callum Williams trying to hold in his chuckle is priceless. Heath took a calmer approach in the press conference.
“There's no need. They've won the game, he doesn't need to be blasting the ball into supporters,” Heath said after the match, via MLSsoccer.com. “Everybody knows that's a no-no. And normally, when you use them antics like he's done most of the evening, you’re normally pretty good so that was a surprise for me.”
MNUFC defender calls Ochoa 'bit of a clown'
Ochoa, 20, had already irritated Minnesota player with time-wasting tactics in the second half as Real Salt Lake held a 2-0 lead on back-to-back goals by Anderson Julio at the 31st and 41st minutes.
In the closing minutes of the match, Ochoa was hit in the back and needed medical attention. A similar incident happened again before the final whistle.
“I mean, he’s actually a bit of a clown like within the 90 minutes before and then decides to top it off with that which is pretty disrespectful, I think,” Minnesota United defender Michael Boxall said, via the MLS site. “I mean, I don't know if it's his first time out on the field or just doesn't seem like he knows how to behave and I think we wanted to let him know. Yeah, he’s just a bit of a clown, you can tell him I said that.”
Ochoa, one of the league's up-and-coming keepers, got the start in the final game of the 2020 season and had four saves in a 2-0 loss. He had one save against Minnesota. In 2018, he helped lead the U-20 national team to its second consecutive CONCACAF U-20 title.
Real Salt Lake meets Minnesota United again on May 29 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Utah.
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