Sanchez stepping into backup role in Seitz's absence
You hate to even think about sports with a situation like the one Chris Seitz was in. One life is worth more than any soccer game or roster decision. But the fact is that when Seitz rightfully left for the east coast to heroically assist in hopefully saving someone's life, FC Dallas was left in a quandary.
38-year-old goalkeeper Kevin Hartman has been a stalwart for FC Dallas in the past two years, starting 62 of a possible 66 games, but with any player an injury could happen at any time. Seitz's absence meant the only backup for Hartman was a young keeper who, immensely talented, was barely old enough to vote.
You would hope that a goalkeeper who led Mexico to the U17 World Cup in front of 100,000 screaming fans at Estadio Azteca wouldn't be overawed by making his professional debut for FC Dallas, but Hyndman and company had to show a ton of trust in Sanchez to let Seitz go.
FCD has unfortunately missed out on the playoffs, but there could have been a very real scenario where a win on Sunday against Chivas, coupled with an injury to Hartman, would leave Dallas with only Sanchez between the pipes.
The situation has really worked out perfectly for everyone involved, however, as Sanchez has gained immense experience watching the last few games from the bench while, according to Hyndman, has stepped up his game big time in practice.
"We feel like Richard Sanchez has the world in front of him," Hyndman said on Wednesday. "We feel like he’s extremely extremely talented. This month that Chris has been gone might have been the best month of training that we’ve seen out of Richard."
The main thing you worry about, as a coach, with young keepers is how they will react in a game if a mistake is made. However, past experience has shown that Sanchez can handle some adversity.
"I think the only area that you never really know about a young keeper is how they’re going to respond to the pressure and decision making," Hyndman said. "If he makes a mistake, how is he going to respond? I watched him in the U17 World Cup in a game he made a mistake and the rest of the game he was outstanding."
Indeed, Sanchez hasn't looked out of place at all as the backup goalkeeper in practice. For most of the homegrown players this year, road trips have meant a weekend to turn off from soccer, but Hyndman says this experience has been vital to keeping the professional mentality going day in and day out.
"He’s with the first team, but he also knows that he doesn’t have to switch off when the first team goes away," Hyndman said. "He’s part of that team. His level of improvement has been tremendous and it’s not all technical. A lot of it is confidence, he feels like now I belong."