Dysktra makes his case to be Fire starting goalkeeper
BRIDGEVIEW Ill. — Nearly lost in the fanfare surrounding Brian McBride’s home finale was the stellar performance of Fire goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra, who stopped four shots to shut out D.C. United in Saturday afternoon’s scoreless draw at Toyota Park.
The second-year goalie, who was making his third straight appearance in place of injured starter Sean Johnson, came up big in the game’s latter stages, making a pair of nice stops in the 78th and 86th minutes to preserve the draw.
Oddly enough, it was Fire defender Wilman Conde who put Dykstra to work in the 78th. The Colombian center back deflected a dangerous cross towards the top right corner, forcing Dykstra to quickly jump and paw the ball over the crossbar.
D.C. midfielder Santino Quaranta provided the threat in the 86th. He picked up a loose ball in the middle of the box and looked poised to net a winner, but Dykstra did well, quickly coming off his line to parry the ball away.
Though his late stops were certainly important, Dykstra’s best save came earlier in the match. Former Fire midfielder Stephen King latched onto a cross in the middle of the area in the 48th, hitting a sliding left-footed shot at goal from nine yards out. The effort was no match for Dykstra, who reacted quickly to keep the hard shot out and control the rebound.
Despite Saturday’s fine performance, Dykstra—who started the first 14 games of the Fire’s season—might not be on the field for next Saturday’s season finale at Chivas USA. Johnson, originally injured in training on October 5th, returned to training on Friday and will likely be available against Chivas.
Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.