FRISCO - A familiar sight returned to the FC Dallas goal last week as bombastic goalkeeper Raul Fernandez was back for the trio of matches against New York, Seattle and San Jose.
The Peruvian known as “Superman” had previously missed the last 12 matches for FC Dallas dating back to September 29, 2013.
“It was a difficult and long week last week,” Raul said through a translator on Wednesday. “It felt a bit marathon-like, but I think that this week we have to get ourselves ready for a victory.”
A victory was the one thing missing from Raul’s return to the pitch. Despite making 12 saves in his three matches, Raul took the loss in all three, something that definitely takes away from his jaw-dropping double save in Seattle.
“Personally, they’re good saves, but it’s a shame that we couldn’t get a point (in Seattle),” said Raul. “Still, I’m happy for my return and that I am giving it my all on the field.”
As for his jaw-dropping MLSsoccer.com Save of the Week-nominated double save in Seattle?
“That’s a sign that Superman has returned,” he said with a laugh.
Without a doubt, the top priority for Raul and FC Dallas as they return to Toyota Stadium on Saturday night to face Chivas USA, other than three points, will be to get that first elusive clean sheet of the season.
“We’re working on that [shutout] and we’re focused on working hard for the 90 minutes and extra time,” said Raul. “Tomorrow, we’re going to begin watching film on [Chivas USA] and then take the things that we learned there onto the field and execute our game plan.”
Raul’s return has certainly come at a good time from a national team perspective. Peru is just about to begin preparations for the 2015 Copa America in Chile and will play a part in the road to Brazil as his Peru side is set to face Switzerland and England at Wembley Stadium in a pair of pre-World Cup friendlies set for early June.
For a fiercely proud Peruvian like Raul, his hard work with FC Dallas will hopefully precede a call up to these matches from new Peru head coach Pablo Bengoechea.
“I want to have that opportunity and continue to play in these types of games,” said Raul. “It’s a great moment to be playing against the top teams in the world like England…[playing at Wembley] is a dream that everyone wants to come true.”