FRISCO – FC Dallas earned its sixth clean sheet of the season with a scoreless draw against Real Salt Lake on Saturday, July 27—thanks in large part to goalkeeper Jesse González. The 24-year-old shot-stopper made five saves en route to his third MLS Team of the Week inclusion.
While González’s eye-catching reflex saves stole the headlines on the day, head coach Luchi González first highlighted the improvement of a different aspect in his ‘keeper’s game.
“Jesse has always had talent,” coach González said after Saturday’s game. “I just continually see him mature and develop and train well to improve his distribution, to improve his reactions and saves, where he's giving up rebounds. I'm really happy with his progress, we need him to continue to contribute for us to get as far as we can this season.”
FC Dallas has placed much more emphasis on building attacks from the back in this first season under González’s stewardship, and Jesse González’s vastly improved distribution and passing is a testament to the new style.
Currently at 78%, González has the highest passing accuracy among goalkeepers that have made at least five MLS appearances—a marked improvement over his 61% from last season. He also averages eight more passes per game than he did in the previous campaign.
“I think it's the confidence that the manager instills in you,” González said on his progress. “Since Oscar (Pareja) was here, the confidence has always been there but now that they want me to play more with my feet and that's something we work on day in and day out and it's something that has benefited me a lot.”
But distribution isn’t the only area that González has developed this season. The U.S. international has also begun to remove the mistakes that marred his performances in seasons past. In his 22 appearances last year, González made two errors that led directly to goals. After 21 games this time around, the Homegrown 'keeper has yet to make an error resulting in a goal.
González’s newfound consistency has been vital to FC Dallas’ defense which has conceded the second fewest goals in Western Conference; and he’s quickly becoming one of the players Dallas can rely on to step up on the big occasions.
“We know how capable Jesse is, we know he is a great goalkeeper,” midfielder Bryan Acosta said. “He always keeps us secure and he contributes a lot. Like I said, we have to try and complete our attacking plays so we can score because we know that Jesse will respond if something happens on the other end.”