The Dallas Morning News
Homegrown goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez put himself in the conversation to start again for FC Dallas.
Coaches’ decision to switch pays off as Gonzalez, 21, shines
After goalkeeper Chris Seitz struggled in a CONCACAF Champions League loss to Pachuca last week, FC Dallas coach Oscar Pareja and goalkeeper coach Drew Keeshan decided to make a change.
Homegrown goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez got the start against Minnesota United in Saturday’s 2-0 win, though Pareja said he and the coaching staff were not being reactionary.
“I thought what happened in Pachuca needed a refresh for all of us,” he said. “I don’t want just to think that for one game I’m going to make a decision, but sometimes the game talks to us as coaches, and we had to listen.”
Gonzalez, 21, delivered a top-quality performance, earning a spot on several media outlets’ teams of the week and staking a claim for another start.
“I have to say that I have two great goalkeepers,” Pareja said. “Chris has done a terrific job with us, and so has Jesse in his moment. Both of them have been part of our seasons with frequency. [Saturday,] we had Jesse that did a great job, and that’s healthy for him and also for Chris.”
The typically reserved Gonzalez shrugged off praise after the match, saying he learned he would start two days before the contest but is always ready when needed.
“We were coming into training,” he said. “Whoever is on the bench, we all prepare for whoever’s up next.”
Barrios on the rise: Like Gonzalez, winger Michael Barrios also made multiple “best 11s” for his performance in Saturday’s victory, as the Colombian scored one goal and assisted on the other.
Pareja said he’s enjoyed Barrios’ contributions to the team.
“Mikey is a very collected player. He’s a team player who’s always thinking about centering the group. He knows how to use his speed, he knows how to put himself into good spots,” Pareja said.
Rare Friday game: FC Dallas’ upcoming game against the San Jose Earthquakes is Friday, an infrequent occurrence in Major League Soccer.
In the Oscar Pareja era, FCD has had mixed results in Friday matches. Last year, FCD took a 1-0 victory in San Jose but fell 4-0 to the New York Red Bulls.
In 2015, FCD played eight Friday games and had two victories, three draws and three defeats. Since his arrival in 2014, Pareja and FCD have a 54-3 record on Fridays.
Jon Arnold is an editor at Goal.com and BBC 5 Live’s CONCACAF expert.