In a match that was marred by RSL midfielder Omar Holness suffering an on-pitch seizure, Real Monarchs defeated Saint Louis FC 1-0 in their season opener.
That dreadful moment came in the 35th minute, when on-loan rookie Holness fell to the ground and both sides screamed for immediate medical assistance, with members of both teams rushing a gurney onto the pitch.
After an unnerving and terrifying break in action, Holness was placed in an ambulance and taken to a local hospital, where he was alert and responsive. He was later released, and slept at home, RSL Communications said.
Real Monarchs decided to continue on with the match, with Devon Sandoval telling RSL.com that he advocated for it.
When they asked us if we wanted to continue, I said ‘Let’s do it. It’s what Omar would want. We’ve got to get these three points for him and leave it all out there.’
Continue they did, and while the atmosphere was notably demure until the goal was scored, Real Monarchs came out the other side victorious after a stoppage-time goal scored by Monarchs forward Maikon Orellana.
Orellana's goal, a roofed shot from a flicked-on header by Devon Sandoval, brought fans to their feet in celebration. A Max Lachowecki throw-in found Sandoval inside the box, who let the ball bounce and backed away to head the ball cleanly into the path of the onrushing forward.
And, of course, a word should be said about Orellana's celebration, which was set to one of his songs (it's difficult to say if he's a hip hop artist moonlighting as a soccer player, or if it's the other way around).
The remainder of the match was subdued, certainly because of the earlier incident.