As FC Dallas begin its 2020 season, the goalkeeper position was one spot on the field with few fans clamoring concern. Jesse Gonzalez entered the season as the sole No. 1, but as we and others reported, his sudden departure from the team was deserved and necessary. Dallas was forced to turn to Jimmy Maurer, a veteran backup more than capable of stepping in without a huge drop in quality.
And then, Maurer went down with an injury a couple of weeks ago in Kansas City.
FC Dallas turned to Kyle Zobeck, a 31-year old journeyman keeper who never had MLS minutes. A week later, with his first two career MLS starts under his belt, Zobeck also notched another win - his first MLS Team of the Week honors. Just enjoy Ryan Hollingshead breaking the news to his teammate:
Everyone needs a Ryan in their life. pic.twitter.com/MQ8CNARnny— FC Dallas (@FCDallas) September 14, 2020
Zobeck has improved with every minute on the field. He is a vocal keeper, very obvious from watching the game (especially without a ton of fans present), slipping between English and Spanish to direct his squad to their positions for free kicks. While he was shaky against Minnesota, his confidence grew with each minute out there, and he was solid at home facing Houston with the only goal given up coming off a (probably) unstoppable free kick to the far corner from Memo Rodriguez.
Let’s also not discount Zobeck’s time with North Texas SC in 2019, making him part of that championship squad as he contributed five starts over the course of the campaign.
I love underdog stories, and while I’m not expecting Zobeck to grab the number one spot, if he starts in this week’s matches and continues to improve, does he merit some consideration? Do we have an unofficial goalkeeper battle in the works in the remaining games of this season?
Meanwhile, FC Dallas also welcomes newcomer Phelipe Megiolaro into training this week, after following appropriate COVID-19 protocols. Megiolaro has a pedigree and experience that Maurer and Zobeck can’t claim, including time with the Brazilian youth national team and a couple of appearances for Gremio in Serie A. He’s also 21, which isn’t a problem if the kid can play, communicate well, and is ready, but it is really hard to know what to expect from this loan. Is this just a chance for FC Dallas to get some quality depth and an opportunity to get to know a player they have been scouting? Are they looking toward the future or ready to hand over the reins right now?
It’s unlikely we see Megiolaro in action this week just yet, as he needs time to get to know his teammates and get into some rhythm. But if Zobeck struggles? What then?
Luchi says new keeper Phelipe Megiolaro will begin full training tomorrow with #FCDallas— Drew Epperley (@wvhooligan) September 14, 2020
The good news is that Jimmy Maurer is on his way back to fitness. Luchi shared in his recent press conference that the veteran is expected to return to training sometime this week. I doubt he gets the nod on Wednesday night, but he would be nice to see between the posts against Sporting Kansas City at Mercy Park if he is ready. He showed well in that stadium a few weeks back as Dallas fought for a deserved draw.
Luchi on current #FCDallas injuries: Fafa looks better, could be available by this weekend. Maurer and Acosta could rejoin full training this week.— Drew Epperley (@wvhooligan) September 14, 2020
This wasn’t a position we thought we would spend a lot of time thinking about in 2020, but here we are. Who would have thought? 2020 is something else.
- Does Zobeck have potential to be more than a backup’s backup?
- Do you want to see Phelipe get a start in the coming weeks?
- Who starts on today and Saturday?