It’s taken David Ochoa no time to become Public Enemy No. 1 at Allianz Field, with the 20-year-old Real Salt Lake goalkeeper drawing the ire of those in the stands, as well as Minnesota United coach Adrian Heath and his Loons players.
Ochoa had already upset the Loons with time-wasting tactics in the second half. But when Ochoa punted the ball into the Wonderwall, the Minnesota United supporters section, after the final whistle blew on RSL's 2-1 season-opening win, it sparked a post-match fracas as Heath and his players sought out Ochoa for a post-match word.
Heath was calmer in his post-match press conference, but still brought the heat when asked about Ochoa’s acton.
“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. “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.”
Heath was similarly dismissive of Ochoa in his pitch-side television interview after the final whistle.
RSL coach Freddy Juarez responded to Heath’s comments in his post-match presser.
“No comment, everyone’s fired up right now. We’re all competitive and everyone has a right to their own opinion I thought Ochoa had a pretty good game. He’s still developing in many ways, he’s a young adult and we’ll continue to groom him and help him in his career.”
But Minnesota United defender Michael Boxall shared his coach's lack of amusement at Ochoa's actions.
“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,” Boxall said. “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.”
Boxall will get that chance when the teams meet again May 29 at Rio Tinto Stadium.