San Diego Loyal professional soccer team want to forgo Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with Los Angeles Galaxy II after a Galaxy player allegedly used a racial slur against one of Loyal’s black players.
The USL Second Division Championship suspended defender Omar Ontiveros for six games on Friday, saying in a statement that “none of the facts” of the 71st– a detailed incident was “contested by one of the parties involved”.
It’s unclear whether USL will allow the Loyal to lose the point earned at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, given the potential impact on the playoff race. USL spokesman Ryan Madden said the league’s competitive strategy committee will meet to decide.
The top two teams from each regular season group advance to the USL playoff tournament, and the Loyals are currently second in Group B, 23 points behind Phoenix Rising (26). Galaxy (22) are third and Orange County SC (21) are fourth, but they still have three games to play. San Diego has just one on Wednesday against Phoenix at USD Torero Stadium.
The league has basically three choices: keep the result as is, allow the Loyal to subtract a point (23-22) while letting the Galaxy keep a point tied, or give the Galaxy three points for a win.
The problem with crediting the Galaxy with the win is that it could affect Orange County’s chances in the playoffs.
“We fully support the spirit of Loyal’s decision,” said Madden, USL vice president of communications. “What we would need to decide as a league is whether there would be any unintended negative consequences for teams who have done things the right way.”
The game at Carson was originally scheduled for July 29 but postponed after 11 Galaxy players or staff reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. The Loyal was in a nearby hotel, preparing to travel to the stadium when he heard the news.
On Wednesday, the Loyals were leading 1-0 at the time of the alleged incident on 42sd-minute goal by Rubio Rubin. Galaxy’s Alex Alvarado scored the equalizer on a header in stoppage time for the second half, robbing the Loyal of a win they desperately needed to bolster their playoff chances.
Le Loyal released a statement on Friday that did not identify the insulted player, but noted he was subsequently sent off for two yellow cards. Defender Elijah Martin received yellow cards in the 82nd and 89th minutes.
Ontiveros received a red card at the end of the game and must serve a one-game suspension for it in addition to the six games assessed by the league. This probably ends his season.
“We don’t even want to recognize being part of a game where this type of action takes place,” Loyal owner Andrew Vassiliadis said in the club statement. “The Loyal on our behalf is symbolic of the diversity of our community, and as a club we will not support it. “