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LAFC head coach condemns MLS game played in heavy snow as an 'absolute disgrace'

LAFC and Real Salt Lake played in snowy conditions. (Kelvin Kuo / USA Today Sports / Reuters via CNN Newsource) LAFC and Real Salt Lake played in snowy conditions. (Kelvin Kuo / USA Today Sports / Reuters via CNN Newsource)
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Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) head coach Steve Cherundolo said it was an “absolute disgrace” that his team’s match against Real Salt Lake (RSL) went ahead despite a blizzard engulfing the America First Field in Sandy, Utah on Saturday.

After the Major League Soccer (MLS) match had been delayed for more than three hours due to the inclement conditions, LAFC sunk to a 3-0 defeat while the snow fell around the players.

“It was not difficult conditions [but] impossible conditions, an absolute joke that we had to play today,” Cherundolo told reporters.

“Not safe for the players, one of the worst professional sporting events I’ve ever seen in my life. I feel terrible for the players we put them through this. The game could have and should have been called many times beforehand.”

LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo watches on from the touchline. (Rob Gray / USA Today Sports / Reuters via CNN Newsource)Kickoff had originally been scheduled for 2 p.m. ET but was postponed for two hours due to high winds. The match then got underway for four minutes but was postponed again for another hour due to nearby lightning strikes.

According to LAFC, the players endured “near freezing temperatures brought on by one of Utah’s strongest winter storms of the year.”

Once the match began, RSL produced a dominant first-half display, scoring three goals and putting the game beyond LAFC’s reach.

Andrés Gómez scored his team’s first two goals – the first after he shimmied past the last line of defence and poked the ball past a diving Hugo Lloris, and the second after Diego Luna set it up for him to strike into the net.

French World Cup winning goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was playing in his second game for LAFC. (Chris Gardner / Getty Images via CNN Newsource)

Gómez turned provider for RSL’s third goal just before halftime when his cross into the box found Chico Arango, who slid along the snow-laden grass and guided the ball into the net.

“You prepare all week for obviously normal conditions, you prepare teams for certain tactics, and when it gets that crazy and that unplayable, nothing you do in preparation matters … It just baffles me that we would put players through this,” Cherundolo added.

“I didn’t even watch the game, the last 20 minutes you couldn’t see anything.”

CNN has contacted MLS for comment on Cherundolo’s remarks.

Meanwhile, RSL head coach Pablo Mastroeni paid tribute to his players’ “mentality” and “mindset to not allow circumstances beyond their control to affect them.”

“You don’t prepare for this type of game by training in it,” he told reporters. “And I think the team that quickly adapts to the circumstances around them and controls the controllables has a better chance in it.

“It wasn’t easy for either team, so just a real credit to the players.”

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