KANSAS CITY - In 90 minutes at Sporting Park on Friday night, goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez showed why FC Dallas is so high on him.
The 20-year-old Homegrown made six saves including three stunners that kept FC Dallas in the match at Sporting Park before eventually falling 3-1 to the home team.
“I’m proud of him,” said FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja after the match. “I thought it was a mix of feelings for him. He made a few saves that show how he’s growing but at the same time I know he is frustrated with the goals but I’m very proud.”
Despite some chaos around him in the first half, Gonzalez was not tested until just before the halftime whistle. A powered header by Chance Meyers forced the Homegrown into his best save in an FC Dallas uniform sprawling to tip the ball around the post and deny SKC a halftime lead.
That wouldn’t be his best save of the match, however. Early in the second half, Gonzalez was called into action twice denying a Graham Zusi header before popping up to again deny the World Cup veteran on the rebound to preserve the clean sheet.
“It was just a header and I had to react quickly to it to put it in a good spot and then make the second save,” Gonzalez said after the match. “The training helps me out a lot and we’ve been doing this for more than two years, it works it out in the game.”
Gonzalez made another huge save late in the match denying Dwyer from close range with his legs while finishing the match with six saves, the most for an FC Dallas goalkeeper this season.
“We trust Jesse back there. He’s got a big body and can cover a lot of ground so he kept us in the game early on the header in the first half and then the chances early in the second half,” said Walker Zimmerman. “He kept us in there and I wish we could’ve kept the clean sheet and avoided giving up the dumb set pieces.”
As with any young goalkeeper, the match provided a learning experience as well. Gonzalez was a split-second late coming off his line to claim a through ball that SKC forward Dom Dywer beat him to before being bundled over with referee Mark Geiger pointing to the penalty spot.
“It’s a great experience for me,” said Gonzalez. “I’ll learn from my mistakes and keep working.”