Houston goalkeeper Pat Onstad appears to be making a late push this week to get healthy and is hopeful to be available for the team’s match Saturday against Philadelphia at PPL Park.
Onstad participated fully in practice on Friday for the first time this week. While the veteran is still recovering from the concussion he suffered after colliding with the elbow of defender Andrew Hainault last weekend, Onstad also admitted he has a painful thumb injury that has been hindering him.
“I am looking forward to hopefully being ready by Saturday,” Onstad said. “I like to think health-wise I will be OK, and I think it will be up to [head coach Dominic Kinnear] with what he wants to do.”
Since all of the MLS pool goalkeepers are currently unavailable, the team would be forced to sign a player to a one-day contract if Onstad was unavailable. Backup goalkeeper Tally Hall has already been told he will not be traveling due to his ankle injury. As a result, Houston had made contact with a couple of goalkeepers on the off chance that neither Hall nor Onstad could go.
At Thursday’s practice, goalkeeping duties fell entirely on third-stringer Tyler Deric, who was happy with the increased work.
“It was mainly me, so it was exciting, and I love getting the work in,” Deric said. “It was unfortunate what happened to Pat and Tally, and I don’t wish those things on anyone, but if the team needs me, I’ll be ready.”
Deric has yet to play in a competitive game and has played only one half this year, against the Laredo Heat in a friendly. As a result, he has been working hard in practice all week on getting comfortable with the defense in case he does start.
“The guys have done a great job bringing me along this week and working with me,” Deric noted. “I am confident we will have a good result this weekend.”
Filling in at goalkeeper for Houston in practice on Thursday was team equipment manager Michael Porter, a graduate of NAIA Malone University, where he played as a goalkeeper for four years.
“He had a shutout in the small-sided game, and I think I have had one of those all year,” Hall said. “He comes in and posts a shutout, so I think my job’s in danger. I may have to find a new gig in the offseason while Porter takes my paycheck.”
Dwain Capodice is a contributor to MLSsoccer.com. Questions or Comments can be sent via email to email@example.com.