SANDY, Utah -- Despite a questionable goal that put LAFC ahead for the first time in the first half, Real Salt Lake coach Mike Petke left Saturday's 5-1 home loss stunned more by his own team's play.
“It was just one of those days, and I feel terrible about [saying] something like that because it seems dismissive,” Petke said. “It’s one of those days where I’m not ready to analyze this game. It’s that much of a shock to all of us.”
Real Salt Lake had a brief lead, but only when Joao Plata earned a penalty in the 19th minute off Dejan Jakovic's challenge. Plata leaped and appeared to avoid most of the contact, but referee Baldomero Toledo awarded the penalty without reviewing on video. Plata’s penalty was stopped, but he put away the rebound to take a 1-0 lead for Salt Lake.
Another decision not to go to the replay booth loomed perhaps even larger in the 33rd minute, when Steven Beitashour and Latif Blessing both appeared offside in the buildup to Blessing's strike to make it 2-1. Toledo didn’t take a look on that either, and allowed the goal to stand after discussing it for a moment on his earpiece.
Beitashour felt confident Toledo had consulted with his video assistant referee, Juan Guzman Jr., even if he didn't look himself.
PENALTY: Dejan Jakovic fouls Joao Plata in the box
“I think he did, both times you saw a little bit of delay [as he was discussing it],” Beitashour said.
That potential controversy proved irrelevant as LAFC piled up another three goals after halftime. When it was over, Petke's side conceded the most goals ever allowed by a home squad at Rio Tinto Stadium.
“There were a lot of plays and a lot of situations in my mind looking back on that were just not right,” Petke said. “We made a number of adjustments. We sent papers out on the field to be very clear about certain things.”
None of it seemed to work, as three second-half goals finished off the first-ever loss in a home opener at Rio Tinto Stadium. And nothing that occurred in the second half seemed familiar to Petke and the game plan he had conceived.
Still, the manager did not believe it's a sign of an upcoming trend.
“It was an anomaly,” Petke said.
“It’s unacceptable.” pic.twitter.com/6x0KU3cslW— Real Salt Lake (@RealSaltLake) March 11, 2018