FRISCO – Since signing a Homegrown contract with FC Dallas in early 2011, Richard Sanchez has been almost a mythical figure around Frisco.
The player described by Schellas Hyndman as the best goalkeeper he’s ever seen for his age has spent nearly as much time with Mexico youth national teams as he has with the FCD squad.
Finally, a run of Reserve League games in recent weeks have given Sanchez the chance to suit up for FC Dallas to face MLS-caliber competition as opposed to the youth international squads he’s used to facing with Mexico.
“I think they’re different in that the intensity is a lot higher,” Sanchez said of reserve games against youth internationals. “Obviously the players are a lot more experienced and know what to do with the ball. The runs they make are a lot smarter and as a player these games help me mature a lot more.”
Sanchez, who has started the last two Reserve League matches, showed his overwhelming amount of raw talent in the season finale against Chicago, preserving the 2-1 victory with a fantastic kick save on Dominic Oduro in the dying moments of the match.
“It was just a ball that was slipped right up the middle,” Sanchez said about the play. “[Oduro] turned to goal and came up one on one with me. I tried to stand my ground and stay big. It was a low shot to the left and I was able to save it with my foot.”
The Mexican international’s shot-stopping ability has always been there, but according to his teammate Bobby Warshaw, the intangibles are starting to come around as well.
“He was missing a little bit of the intangibles when he first got here, the vocal things,” Warshaw said. “But now, if you don’t make a play, he will lay into you as he should. If you’re not in the right spot, he’ll tell you and organize beforehand.”
Even though Sanchez is still just 18 years old, Hyndman said earlier in the season that he hopes his young ‘keeper will be challenging for the full-time backup spot next season. However, with Chris Seitz out, Sanchez has traveled on the last two FC Dallas road trips as the backup to Kevin Hartman, gaining valuable experience for a player of his age.
“You learn a lot of different things [traveling to away games],” Sanchez said. “In San Jose, it was to not let your guard down. To try and keep consistent high intensity throughout the game and always stay focused.”