FRISCO, Texas - FC Dallas is hard at work preparing for their return to MLS action in Seattle on Saturday night after a two-week layoff, but one eye will be turned to the MLS All-Star Game tonight as Raul Fernandez backstops the All-Stars against Italian giants AS Roma (8:00PM, ESPN2, UniMas).
After Wednesday's practice, Fernandez's teammates spoke about the Peruvian who will become the first FC Dallas goalkeeper to start an MLS All-Star Game since Mark Dodd in 1997.
"He absolutely deserves it. I think its a great honor for him," said midfielder Andrew Jacobson before adding with a grin. "I think the way we look at it is don't put in too much today. You know, maybe play 20-30 minutes and get ready for Saturday."
WATCH: RAUL FERNANDEZ SAVE REEL
South American goalkeepers bring a certain flair to the game, and in his short time in Dallas, that's certainly been true for Fernandez. The Peruvian leads MLS in saves per game, averaging nearly four stops per match and sits just behind San Jose's Jon Busch for most saves in the league. Fernandez also sits tied for third in MLS with seven shutouts in 19 starts.
Six of those seven shutouts have come with 2013 MLS Inactive All-Star George John on the back line.
"I’ve enjoyed playing with him," said John. "He’s a solid 'keeper and I’m excited for him to represent Dallas at the All-Star game."
Fernandez was voted into the All-Star Game by the fans, and while it's undeniable that many of those came from his native Peru where "Superman" Fernandez enjoys rock-star status, head coach Schellas Hyndman has an interesting theory on why the 'keeper has quickly become a fan favorite in Frisco.
"As funny as it sounds, I think that segment that MLS [Insider] did with him going back to Peru opened the eyes of a lot of people about how special of a 'keeper he is and how much that country loves him," Hyndman said. "Enthusiasm is contagious, and right now I think he’s done so well for our team. I think that segment got a lot of people excited about him and we’re really, really happy he’s representing FC Dallas and we’re looking forward to seeing him play well."