FRISCO, Texas – In a year filled with various off-the-field challenges, FC Dallas goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer has enjoyed a career-season that saw him take over the starting job and finish as one of the top performing keepers in MLS.
Maurer began 2020 as FCD’s presumed second-choice goalie but entered pole position after the former starter Jesse Gonzalez was suspended by the club in June. With the season on hold at the time, Maurer was taking over the starting job amid considerable uncertainty. Still, the Lawrenceville, Georgia native felt as prepared as ever.
“It’s what I’d been working for, so I was ready for it, I was excited about it,” Maurer said in an interview with FCDallas.com. “It’s just been a crazy year in a lot of ways. It’s been a lot of stops and starts. You come into preseason thinking one thing, we get shut down after a couple games, then we had the isolation and quarantine period trying to workout at our houses—that was an experience. And then I get the news of the unfortunate situation that happened and it looked like I was going to have the chance to make the starting role mine, so of course I was excited about that.”
Maurer’s first chance to stake his claim was to be the MLS is Back tournament in Orlando, FL. But a just a few days before its first game, FC Dallas was withdrawn from the competition after 10 players tested positive for COVID-19. For Maurer, the missed opportunity was a tough pill to swallow.
“I just felt really ready for my chance to play,” he said. “I felt really good about my game and I was excited to get my chance to play down in Orlando. So, to have that not happen, and obviously worrying about guys’ health and being stuck in Orlando, it was just a crazy situation.”
His next shot was in FCD’s first game back against Nashville SC in mid-August after a four-month layoff. And while it was a long time coming, Maurer seized his opportunity and made the starting role his own with a number of outstanding performances between the sticks. When the regular season was all said and done, the 32-year-old finished top of the charts in both Goals Against Average (.84 GAA) and Save Percentage (79.4%) among starting goalkeepers in MLS. Plus, Maurer’s seven shutouts also ranked third overall despite only playing 16 games on the year.
“I’m not a big stats guy normally but I think those two stats (GAA and Save Percentage) are big especially when you put them together,” Maurer said. “Obviously, shutouts and Goals Against numbers are hugely part of the team as a whole. No goalkeeper is getting those numbers on their own, so it’s a huge credit to those guys. The one thing that I do feel a lot of pride in is coupling that with the save percentage. That’s a big accomplishment and I do feel very proud of it. It’s just another example of how hard everyone works together—our goalkeeping core, our coaching staff, every guy on the field.”
Now with a first-round playoff matchup against the Portland Timbers on the horizon, Maurer is looking to carry his regular season form into the postseason.
“I’ve played in playoff situations before at other clubs not in MLS,” he said. “I’ve played in finals before and the biggest thing in my experience is that it’s just another game—and your adrenaline and emotions will show up on their own. But the preparation stays the same. We just try to prepare and be as ready as possible the same way we do week in and week out.
“We take confidence in what’s gotten us here and study what we need to work on and the things that are going to allow us to have success in Portland. We know it’s going to be a really tough challenge. They’re a good side and we’re playing them at home but we’re going to have to win games on the road to get the MLS Cup—that’s our end goal so why not start it in Portland.”