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San Diego Soccer Team Wins In Return To Play Game

Landon Donovan, left, looks on alongside assistant coaches Nate Miller, cente...

Photo by Gregory Bull / AP Photo

Above: Landon Donovan, left, looks on alongside assistant coaches Nate Miller, center, and Carrie Taylor, right, during a scrimmage, Wednesday, March 4, 2020 in Chula Vista, Calif.

San Diego Loyal SC resumed their inaugural season Saturday with a 1-0 victory over Real Monarchs SLC in Sandy, Utah in the first professional team sporting event played in the United States with fans in attendance since March 11.

Defender Grant Stoneman headed in a corner kick by Jack Metcalf in the 17th minute and Jon Kempin made two saves for the shutout in front of a crowd announced at 816 on an afternoon the temperature was 94 degrees at kickoff.

The rare afternoon home game for Real Monarchs SLC was to accommodate an ESPN Deportes telecast.

Fans attending the Division II men's soccer game at Rio Tinto Stadium were required to wear masks at all times, except while eating at their seats.

The stadium was downsized to 5,300 from its usual capacity of 20,700 to allow for proper social distancing under the plan approved by state and local health authorities and the USL Championship.

Real Monarchs SLC usually plays in the 5,000-seat Zions Bank Stadium in another Salt Lake City suburb, Herriman, Utah.

Stadium seats and surfaces were disinfected with virucidal spray before the game. Additional wall-mounted hand sanitizer dispensers were installed throughout the stadium.

Six-foot markers were placed on the ground and concourse at all locations where fans might travel such as restrooms, concession stands, team store and stairways.

SD Loyal wore Black Lives Matter alternate jerseys in an attempt to continue to raise awareness around the importance of inclusivity and diversity, according to team President Warren Smith.

"Loyal is more than just our name — it's our mantra," Smith said Thursday, when the team announced it would wear the jerseys for selected games through 2021.

"The Loyal in our name is symbolic of the diversity in our community, and now more than ever we stand by this. It's time to show our loyalty and stand together in the fight against racism and put an end to the violence fueled by hatred against our Black community."

The jerseys are part of a full black kit with dark teal accent with Black Lives Matter written across the nameplate on all players. "Together San Diego" runs down the side of each jersey.

The player-worn jerseys will be auctioned at the end of the season with the profits going toward the Association of African American Educators of San Diego, which advocates for equity in educational opportunities and outcomes for Black students and staff.

The association will receive 10% of the profits from the jersey sales. The jerseys are available for purchase at soccerloco stores and will go on sale online July 21.

There was a moment of silence in memory of George Floyd, who died while being arrested by officers in Minneapolis May 25. Players and coaches from both teams kneeled in honor of Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Real Monarchs SLC (0-2-0) appeared to score in each half, but officials ruled the ball did not cross the goal line either time for the defending league champion.

"There's nothing there that we can control," said Real Monarchs SLC coach Jamison Olave said. "He missed the calls but I'm not going to talk about that because we can watch the replay and make our conclusion."

SD Loyal (2-0-1) was outshot 11-10, but led 5-1 in shots on goal.

Real Monarchs SLC goalkeeper James Slayton made six saves.


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