FRISCO – FC Dallas welcomed back Richard Sanchez at training on Wednesday after the goalkeeper led Mexico to the Under-20 CONCACAF Championship in Puebla, Mexico on Sunday.
“It was an awesome experience,” said Sanchez. “This time it was a CONCACAF tournament and we won it. All around it was just great to be back [in Mexico].”
Mexico faced the U.S. U-20 National team in the finals, which meant Sanchez played against FC Dallas Academy products Danny Garcia and Boyd “OC” Okwuonu. Being an Academy product himself, Sanchez was close to both players and was excited about playing against them. Sanchez was unable to speak with them before the game, however they did speak briefly when the game was over
“They were down, you know, because they lost,” said Sanchez. “But they were good sports – congratulating me and wishing me luck.”
Out of the three academy players, Sanchez got the most opportunities to showcase his talents as he played every minute in goal for Mexico in the tournament. Sanchez was named Best Goalkeeper of the tournament as he allowed only one goal in 490 minutes of play.
“Receiving minutes with the national team has helped me mature a lot more,” said Sanchez. “I felt like I grew as a player and a person.”
Playing in the U.S in the finals was a different experience for Sanchez. The magnitude of the match added an extra element of pressure that Sanchez embraced.
“I hadn’t played against [the U.S.] with Mexico. It’s definitely a rivalry,” said Sanchez. “To play against them in the finals was a dream come true.”
After posting four straight shut outs in the tournament, the U.S. scored a goal on Sanchez off a penalty kick early in the match. The score would remain tied until Mexico scored twice in extra time to secure the victory.
“It always feels good to win, and especially tournaments like these – it’s something bigger,” said Sanchez. “So to win the CONCACAF tournament was awesome.“