About 6,000 fans attended the inaugural match in March between the San Diego Loyal and the Las Vegas Lights. Photo by Chris Stone

San Diego Loyal SC will resume their inaugural season July 11 by facing the Real Monarchs SLC in Sandy, Utah in the first professional team sporting event played in the United States with fans in attendance since March 11, the USL Championship announced Thursday.

The game will be played at Rio Tinto Stadium which will be downsized to 5,300 to allow for proper social distancing from its usual capacity of 20,700 fans after Real Monarchs SLC received approval for their plan from state and local health authorities and the league.

Real Monarchs SLC usually plays in the 5,000-seat Zions Bank Stadium in another Salt Lake City suburb, Herriman, Utah.

“We couldn’t be more excited to finally step on the field again and play,” said Landon Donovan, the retired U.S. men’s national team star who is SD Loyal’s first-team manager and executive vice president of soccer operations.

“Our players have worked incredibly hard for this moment and we couldn’t ask for a better first opponent than the defending USL champs.”

The 1 p.m. game will be televised by The CW San Diego and the Spanish- language cable network ESPN Deportes.

SD Loyal was 1-0-1 and Real Monarchs SLC 0-1-0 when the Division II men’s soccer league suspended play in March because of the coronavirus outbreak.

SD Loyal is scheduled to play their first home game following the resumption of play July 19 against the LA Galaxy II. The site was not announced. Fans will not be permitted to attend.

SD Loyal drew a capacity crowd announced at 6,100 for their 1-1 tie with the Las Vegas Lights in their home opener March 7 at Torero Stadium at the University of San Diego.

Updated at 11 p.m. July 2, 2020

— City News Service

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