Real Salt Lake’s friendly at home Saturday night against Mexican top-team Club America saw raucous behavior both on and off the field. In fact, the match might have heralded Utah’s first incidence of soccer hooliganism.
RSL’s Argentine maestro Javier Morales scored the game’s only goal, a beautiful curving chip into the right hand top of the net in a game that rarely caught fire. It did, however, showcase a tough-minded and spirited RSL, despite facing a crowd full of loud Club America fans.
More than 30 of those fans with trumpets and drums were a highly vocal presence in the southwest end of the seats. When RSL season tickets holders tried to claim their own seats which the chanting Club America troops had occupied, Sandy City cops were called into force the Mexican team’s fans, many of whom had come from LA and Vegas for the game, out of their corner. Many refused to go. Tempers flared. According to one America female fan a RSL gringo supporter insulted her with instructions to fellate him.
After the game rumors of fights between Latino RSL and America supporters got the police hurrying to escort leaving fans. One RSL staffer headed back to the stadium clutching sharpened sticks he said had been used as weapons in a fight. A Club America supporter, however, said it was “just Latinos arguing. We like to fight.”
RSL president Bill Manning congratulated some of the Club America fans for their passion. “It’s something we want to encourage in our own supporters,” he said.