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SANDY — Less than a week before the club's playoff opener, Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Andrew Putna has been removed from team activities following an incident involving derogatory remarks about a teammate's national origin, Major League Soccer revealed Thursday night following a league investigation.
Putna was revealed to have made the remarks during a "first-team training" on Oct. 14, an incident that was reported to RSL's front office and the league immediately. The 27-year-old goalkeeper was barred from training "and other team activities while the league investigated," an investigation which confirmed Putna's statements about a player's ethnicity.
Putna's separation from the team — which included all training, matches and other team activities — included a timeframe of roughly two MLS matches.
"In addition, the player is required to undergo diversity and inclusion training prior to engaging in any future team activities, including training, and competition," MLS said in a statement.
The league did not name the other player involved in the incident; but SB Nation blog RSL Soapbox, which first reported the incident, indicated that starting goalkeeper David Ochoa, who is Mexican-American, was the target of the remarks. The report cited anonymous sources that Putna "made comments of a racist nature" directed toward Ochoa, but did not specify the exact remark.
Putna was selected in the third round of the 2017 MLS SuperDraft by Real Salt Lake after a four-year career at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The 6-foot-2 net minder signed with Salt Lake's second-division affiliate Real Monarchs in March 2017 and was promoted to the first team just over a year later, when he was thought to be a potential replacement for now-retired goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
In five seasons with Real Salt Lake, Putna has made 25 appearances, including 23 starts, and made 62 saves with 41 goals allowed. He started two games for RSL during the 2021 season, where he allowed eight goals in 225 minutes with six saves.
Real Salt Lake secured a spot in the 14-team MLS Cup playoffs in the final minute of the regular season, and will open the postseason next Tuesday, Nov. 23 at 8:30 p.m. MT at Seattle Sounders FC. The match will air on FS1.