SANDY, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Real Salt Lake’s home opener did not go exactly as planned. In fact, it was an absolute disaster.
After Joao Plata opened the scoring in the 20th minute with his second goal of the season off a rebound of his own penalty kick, expansion LAFC scored five unanswered goals to blow RSL out in front of a sold out crowd, 5-1.
This was RSL’s first home opening loss in team history, and the five goals is the most Real has ever given up at home.
Diego Rossi found the back of the net twice for LAFC, while Latif Blessing, Benny Feilhaber and Carlos Vela also scored goals, as the RSL faithful left Rio Tinto Stadium in a bitter mood on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.
Head coach Mike Petke felt embarrassed after his team’s performance.
“I apologize to my owner,” Petke said. “There’s a lot of places in the world right now where I’d be fired, or I would resign in a lot of places in the world. It’s embarrassing and it starts from the top. I apologize to the fans who came out here. At the end of the day, it’s my job to get the team ready to play.”
The team echoed Petke’s frustration.
“It hurts a lot and I feel for the fans,” said RSL midfielder Albert Rusnak. “I don’t feel for us as players or anybody else because its on us. “It’s simply our fault, but to have a sold out stadium today for the home opener and to do this kind of performance. If I’m one of the fans I’m mad, and they should be rightfully so. It’s too early for me to say what went wrong, but there’s a lot that went wrong today.”
Trailing 2-1 at halftime, RSL could not mount any kind of attack in the second half, placing six shots on goal in total.
LAFC (2-0-0) meanwhile, put the game out of reach with three second half goals, and put 11 shots on frame against goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
Real Salt Lake falls to 0-1-1 on the season, and will next host the New York Red Bulls on March 17th at 7:00 p.m.