Sam Johnson - Real Salt Lake - running past Seb Anderson - Colorado Rapids

For Saturday afternoon’s home match against Toronto FC, Sam Johnson was notably absent from Real Salt Lake’s starting XI.

The striker was omitted for being late to a team meeting, according to what head coach Mike Petke told Brian Dunseth prior to the match. 

The Liberian forward, signed to a Designated Player deal this past offseason from Norwegian side Valerenga, has already been the subject of controversy. Two weeks ago, Johnson said his teammates weren’t finding him enough on the field, prompting Petke to ultimately settle the issue.

“He knows it wasn’t right for him to express it that way,” Petke said at the time. “He talked to the team already. I had a long meeting with Sam, he’s someone who wants to help the team; he wants to get in behind. He’s new to how we want to play and sometimes his runs are a little off with the distribution of the ball, which is natural.”

Through 10 games (six starts), Johnson has four goals. In his place, Petke has re-inserted Venezuelan forward Jefferson Savarino back into the XI. Johnson is available off the bench.