Minnesota United criticizes RSL keeper David Ochoa

The 20-year-old goalkeeper was the recipient of pointed postgame comments from Loons coach Adrian Heath and defender Michael Boxall.

(Andy Clayton-King | The Associated Press) Real Salt Lake goalkeeper David Ochoa (1) makes a stop against Minnesota United midfielder Justin McMaster (24) during the second half of an MLS soccer match, Saturday, April 24, 2021, in St. Paul, Minn. Real Salt Lake won 2-1.

Real Salt Lake had just finished beating Minnesota United 2-1 on the road. It was an impressive performance from a club that many think will be bottom-feeders in the Western Conference.

Moments after the final whistle blew, RSL goalkeeper David Ochoa kicked the ball into the supporter section behind him. Loons players took exception to that, leading to pushing and shoving between both teams.

Minnesota coach Adrian Heath then had some sharp words for Ochoa.

“He doesn’t need to be blasting the ball into our supporters,” Heath said. “Everybody knows that’s a no-no. And, you normally, when you use them antics like you’ve done most of the evening, you’re normally pretty good. So, that was a surprise for me.”

In that quote, Heath seems to be implying that Ochoa isn’t talented enough to exhibit behavior throughout the game that Heath and other Loons players felt was immature. He left no doubt in comments made during a television broadcast, though.

“He’s got some edge on him for a kid who’s not that good,” Heath said.

Loons defender Michael Boxall went as far as to call Ochoa a “clown.”

“He acted like a bit of a clown within the 90 minutes before that, and then decides to top it off with that, which is pretty disrespectful,” 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. I think we wanted to let him know. And yeah, just a bit of a clown. You can tell him I said that.”

Ochoa has been known to draw the ire of opposing teams and fans. During his stint with the Real Monarchs, he once blew a kiss to fans of a team the Monarchs were beating.

RSL coach Freddy Juarez was diplomatic in his response to Heath’s comments.

“No comment,” Juarez said. “Everyone’s fired up right now. It’s the end of the game. We’re all competitive. Everyone has the 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.”