Pat Onstad
Vin Duffy

D.C. United signs goalkeeper Pat Onstad

Washington, D.C. – D.C. United announced today that the club has signed Assistant Coach Pat Onstad to a short-term playing contract. The eight-season MLS veteran returns to the playing field after joining the Black-and-Red on December 21, 2010 following his retirement from the Houston Dynamo. Onstad will serve as a player-coach in the absence of goalkeeper Steve Cronin, who has been placed on the Disabled List following a fractured wrist suffered in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. at the beginning of preseason training.

“We are pleased to have concluded a deal for Pat Onstad,” said General Manager Dave Kasper. “Pat brings stability and experience to the goalkeeping position, and we know that he is capable of supporting our club through its current injury situation.”

“I am thankful for this opportunity and am looking forward to the challenge,” said Onstad. “My primary focus remains the development of our goalkeepers, but I am also ready to help our team on the pitch if called upon.”

Onstad recently concluded a 24-year professional career that included stops in Canada, Scotland, and the United States. He is widely considered to be one of the top goalkeepers in Major League Soccer history, playing with Houston and San Jose for a combined eight seasons. The Canadian is the League’s all-time leader with a goals-against average mark of 1.12 (minimum 10,000 minutes played). With the Dynamo, Onstad started 136 regular season matches, helping the club win back-to-back MLS Cup titles in 2006 and 2007. Most recently, Onstad started 23 regular season games for Houston in 2010, registering four shutouts in 2,070 minutes on the field. During the 2006 campaign, Onstad played every minute of every match, barring a single U.S. Open Cup fixture. Following a 1-1 draw with New England in the 2006 MLS Cup Final, Onstad helped the Dynamo win its first title through a stunning display in the penalty shootout. In 2007, Onstad led the League with a 0.82 goals against average mark, finishing second in shutouts with 11. In the MLS Cup Final at RFK Stadium that season, the Vancouver native made seven saves.


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Before his time in Houston, Onstad was a member of the San Jose Earthquakes, helping the club to raise its second MLS Cup in 2003 during his first season in the League. That same year, Onstad took home the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Award and a spot on the MLS Best XI squad. He would replicate this feat in 2005, helping San Jose earn a Supporters’ Shield as the club went undefeated at home. Onstad also led the League in shutouts (12), goals-against average (0.97), and wins (18).

The Canadian international earned 57 caps throughout his career, most all-time for Canadian goalkeepers. Onstad recorded a record 21 shutouts for his country, and he is the longest-serving member of the squad in Canadian National Team history. Onstad made his debut on February 18, 1988 against Bermuda in a 0-0 draw. In total, the former Houston goalkeeper represented Canada in 15 FIFA World Cup qualification matches across three separate qualifying campaigns. Onstad’s final appearance for his country came in May of 2010 in a friendly against Argentina.

At the club level, Onstad began his career in 1987 with the Vancouver 86ers, and he played for a variety of clubs before his rise in MLS, including the Montreal Impact, Rochester Rhinos, and Scotland’s Dundee United.

Name: Pat Onstad
Position: Goalkeeper
Height: 6’4”
Weight: 215
Jersey: 20
Date of Birth: January 13, 1968
Age: 43
Place of Birth: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Citizenship: Canada