FRISCO, Texas - It’s been a solid start to Raul Fernandez’s tenure between the pipes in Dallas, but we haven’t quite seen why they call him “Superman” back in Peru until Saturday night.
The Peruvian made three saves en route to his third shutout of the season, second-most in MLS, but he’s made no bigger stop this season than his 69th minute denial of a Landon Donovan penalty kick.
While Fernandez admitted he doesn’t know Donovan that well, he got a little help from his teammates in stopping the PK.
“The PK he took is a typical Landon Donovan PK,” Schellas Hyndman told reporters after the game. “We had told Raul to move to his left and I think because Landon hasn’t been playing much recently, he probably went to the place he was most comfortable with.”
That wasn’t Fernandez’s only Superman moment of the night, however. The ‘keeper had been quietly struggling throughout the week with a twisted ankle suffered in Toronto and was only cleared to start after passing a late fitness test before the match. There was even a moment in the second half that raised his coach’s blood pressure a little bit higher.
“He really hasn’t been part of training in anything active [this week],” said Hyndman. “We were concerned about him starting, because he couldn’t take goal kicks.
“If you remember at the end of the game when he called Jair in, I thought ‘Gee, here we go again, he can’t take a goal kick,’ but it turned out Jair was just tying his shoes which was a sigh of relief.”
As has been the case for most of the young season, the ball bounced FCD’s way on this one as Fernandez was able to start and made arguably the biggest play of the season thus far.
“I was very close to not playing, but at the end I thank the coaching staff that they had the trust in me and waited until the last minute to make sure I was able to go,” Fernandez said through a translator. “I really wanted to play and with or without pain, no one was going to take that away from me. I wanted to play.”