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03/14/2014
 

How does that saying go? It’s something about competition bringing out the best in everyone. Well, that has been the case so far this season for FC Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz.

 

Seitz, 27, started eight games for FCD last season and was 4-2-2 with two clean sheets and a goals-against-average of 1.38. He spent most of 2013 as Dallas’ No. 2 keeper behind newcomer Raul Fernandez, FCD’s lone representative at the MLS All-Star Game in his first season in the league.

 

However, when Fernandez had sports hernia surgery this offseason, the Peruvian keeper was expected to miss most if not all of preseason. So, new Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja decided to make Homegrown Player Richard Sanchez, who thrived during a loan to Fort Lauderdale of the NASL in the second half of last season, his No. 1 keeper to start preseason to see how Fernandez and Seitz would respond.

 

And it’s safe to say he was pleased with how both veteran keepers, especially Seitz, handled that challenge.

 

“I have to tell you that in preseason, Richard started as a starter. I wanted to see how his reaction was toward that responsibility and at the same time, how Chris and Raul would react towards that,” Pareja said. “I thought we found a lot of good things. For example, Chris felt the challenge and he reacted very well.”

 

Fernandez continues to recover from his offseason surgery and has only recently begun fully participating in training. That means Seitz remains the starter for at least one more week, as FCD visits reigning MLS Cup champion Sporting Kansas City on Saturday.

 

In last Saturday’s 3-2 win over Montreal, a result which made Pareja a winner in his debut as Dallas’ coach, Seitz stopped six of eight shots in his 90 minutes of work to earn his first win of the year.

 

This year marks Seitz’s eighth in MLS and fourth with FCD. And as someone who thrives in the face of stiff competition, he welcomes the recent push he has received and will continue to receive from the likes of Fernandez and Sanchez.

 

“Yeah, I've been saying this for a long time, but the more competition there is between one and two, two and three and the whole entire group, the better we all get,” Seitz said. “We push each other in training because we obviously want to go out there and be the best every day. So for us, it’s been great. Rich is a really good goalkeeper and it’s one of those things that I enjoy working with him and we have a really good relationship, so continue to work together and continue to compete.”

 

Another reason for Seitz’s continuing success, whether it’s come as FCD’s backup or current starting goalkeeper is due to the ongoing influence of Dallas goalkeeping coach Drew Keeshan, who has been with the club since 2008. Since then, the native of Ireland has earned high marks from every keeper he has worked with, including former FCD keeper Kevin Hartman, now a part of the club’s TV broadcast after retiring last fall.

 

Like the other two members of what the FCD keepers have dubbed “Keeper Island,” Seitz credits much of his success to his extensive work with Keeshan.

 

“He’s awesome,” Seitz said. “You look at what he’s done with the goalkeepers that he’s had, a lot of accolades for a lot of goalkeepers. Obviously, that goes on the talent level for those keepers, but it also goes for a keeper coach that is training those guys and pushing them to be their best. So, a lot of credit to him for pushing all of us along and really making sure we play well on Saturdays.”

 

Seitz has clearly made the most of being the starter thus far, which is why Pareja is in no hurry to rush Fernandez back into a starting role provided he wins an all-out battle with Seitz for the top spot in net.

 

“Chris is a true professional,” Pareja said. “Actually, having the challenge for all of them or having the challenge between them has made them (all three keepers) grow. This is a good chemistry (between them). I like that.”

 

 

 




 
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