Loyal soccer Defender Kyle Stoneman celebrates after scoring the only goal in the first game in the resumption of league play.
Loyal defender Grant Stoneman celebrates after scoring the only goal in the first game in the resumption of league play. Photo from TV by Chris Stone

In the first U.S. professional sports action with fans attending since March, the San Diego Loyal soccer club sweated out a 1-0 victory Saturday amid almost 100-degree heat, elevation of 4,400 feet and a controversial call.

Internet technical difficulties at Rio Tinto Stadium — which left TV screens white — also hurt resumption of the USL Championship league play at Sandy, Utah.

Defender Grant Stoneman headed in a corner kick by Jack Metcalf in the 17th minute and Jon Kempin made two saves for the shutout in front of a crowd announced at 816 on an afternoon the temperature was 94 degrees at kickoff.

The rare afternoon home game for Real Monarchs SLC was to accommodate an ESPN Deportes telecast.

Real Monarchs SLC (0-2-0) appeared to score in each half, but officials ruled the ball did not cross the goal line either time for the defending league champion.

In what TV announcers called it “highway robbery,” officials did not rule it a goal. The 1 p.m. game was televised by The CW San Diego and the Spanish-language cable network ESPN Deportes.

“There’s nothing there that we can control,” said Real Monarchs SLC coach Jamison Olave. “He missed the calls but I’m not going to talk about that because we can watch the replay and make our conclusion.”

SD Loyal (2-0-1) was outshot 11-10, but led 5-1 in shots on goal.

Fans at Rio Tinto Stadium were required to wear masks at all times, except while eating at their seats.

SD Loyal wore Black Lives Matter alternate jerseys in an attempt to continue to raise awareness around the importance of inclusivity and diversity, according to team President Warren Smith.

“Loyal is more than just our name — it’s our mantra,” Smith said Thursday, when the team announced it would wear the jerseys for selected games through 2021.

“The Loyal in our name is symbolic of the diversity in our community, and now more than ever we stand by this. It’s time to show our loyalty and stand together in the fight against racism and put an end to the violence fueled by hatred against our Black community.”

The jerseys are part of a full black kit with dark teal accent with Black Lives Matter written across the nameplate on all players. “Together San Diego” runs down the side of each jersey.

The player-worn jerseys will be auctioned at the end of the season with the profits going toward the Association of African American Educators of San Diego, which advocates for equity in educational opportunities and outcomes for Black students and staff.

The association will receive 10% of the profits from the jersey sales. The jerseys are available for purchase at soccerloco stores and will go on sale online July 21.

There was a moment of silence in memory of George Floyd, who died while being arrested by officers in Minneapolis May 25. Players and coaches from both teams kneeled in honor of Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Real Monarchs SLC goalkeeper James Slayton made six saves.

Loyal soccer Defender Kyle Stoneman celebrates after scoring the only goal in the first game in the resumption of league play. Photo from TV by Chris Stone

Most team members took a knee during the playing of the national anthem. Joseph Greenspan and Charlie Adams stood.

All but two San Diego Loyal members take a knee during the national anthem at Sandy, Utah. Photo from TV by Ken Stone

The jerseys are a full black kit with dark teal accent with Black Lives Matter across the nameplate on all players. “Together San Diego” runs down the side of each jersey.

At the end of the season, the player-worn jerseys will be auctioned, with the profits going toward the Association of African American Educators of San Diego, which advocates for equity in educational opportunities and outcomes for Black students and staff.

The association will receive 10% of the profits from the jersey sales. The jerseys are available for purchase at soccerloco stores and will go on sale online July 21.

“As a professional sport team, we have a duty to use our voices in a productive, meaningful way to benefit our communities,” 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.

“We will not be silent about racial injustice and encourage our fans and community to join us in taking a stand,” he said.

— City News Service contributed to this report

Loyal soccer coach Landon Donavan discusses a penalty call in the first game of the resumption of league play. Photo from TV by Chris Stone