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Andrew Dykstra excelling and learning from experience

"Obviously, I want to graduate and keep going upward," Dykstra

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Nearly every week this season, D.C. United goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra’s routine was the same. He’d spend time in Washington training with the first team, then travel to Richmond (or wherever the USL Pro side Kickers were playing) and start in goal for Leigh Cowlishaw’s club.

In the process, Dykstra, on loan from D.C., helped lead the Kickers to USL Pro semifinals, was named to the league’s first team, captured Goalkeeper of the Year honors and was named (by a vote of Kickers’ players) team MVP.

“If I’m not playing here and being used, this team [United] knows that I’m better when I’m playing games,” Dykstra said. “I had a lot of fun doing it. Obviously I want to graduate and keep going upward.”

Dykstra led the league with 10 shutouts in 22 appearances (13-1-8) and was first among all ’keepers with a goals-against average of 0.863. Dominating USL is nothing new for Dykstra as he also was sensational while playing for the Charleston Battery in 2011 and 2012 (20-12-4 record over two seasons) and has little left to prove at that level.

However, Dykstra has yet to play a match for D.C. United as both Bill Hamid and Joe Willis are ahead of him on the depth chart. It’s a goalkeeping situation that United coach Ben Olsen has long spoke favorably of as all three ’keepers are of high quality and ability.

“We’re very fortunate to have three very good goalkeepers,” Olsen said.

The Virginia Commonwealth University product said he’s thankful to have two goalkeepers of Hamid’s and Willis’ caliber to push him at training, but also that being third on the depth chart has been difficult to deal with at times.

“It was a tough situation to walk into, but the training’s been great,” Dykstra said. “Trying to out out-do each other in drills and that sort of stuff.”

With one match remaining before D.C.’s U.S. Open Cup final against Real Salt Lake on Oct. 1, the potential is there for Dykstra to possibly see time in league play as United have long been out of playoff contention.

“It would be great,” said Dykstra, who last played in an MLS match in 2010 with Chicago. “I’m not expecting anything. I’m just kind of going day to day, working as best I can. If I’m used, I’m used. If I’m not, I’m not. It’s a tough one. There’s not much you can have control over. I just have to do my best and the rest is up to the coaching staff and club.”