TORONTO – From one veteran to another: Keep it up, old timer.
Ageless Houston Dynamo goalkeeper and three-time MLS Cup winner Pat Onstad said on Thursday’s edition of ExtraTime Radio that FC Dallas veteran Kevin Hartman has enjoyed perhaps the best year ever by an MLS 'keeper while FC Dallas seek their first-ever league title.
Hartman and FCD will meet the Colorado Rapids in MLS Cup on Sunday at BMO Field in Toronto (8:30 pm ET, ESPN, Galavisión).
“If he doesn’t say it, I’ll say it,” Onstad said. “Since I’ve been in the league, certainly in the eight years, this is one of the best performances I’ve seen a goalkeeper have in MLS. I know he wasn’t Goalkeeper of the Year, but what a fantastic season.”
LISTEN: Onstad on ExtraTime Radio
Hartman was nominated for the Goalkeeper of the Year Award, but Los Angeles Galaxy netminder Donovan Ricketts took home the honor when it was announced after the regular season. Hartman won the award in 1999 while he was with LA.
Onstad, for his part, won the award with the San Jose Earthquakes in 2005 and 2003. He won MLS Cup in 2003 and then again with the Dynamo in 2006 and 2007. Hartman won the Cup with the Galaxy in 2002 and 2005, when LA knocked off Onstad’s Earthquakes in the Western Conference semifinals.
Hartman led FC Dallas past defending champions Real Salt Lake in this year's Western Conference semifinal – when RSL coach Jason Kreis called him “the difference in the series” – and then picked up his MLS-best 15th career postseason shutout against the Galaxy.
During that game he turned away a blast from Galaxy midfielder Juninho in the 21st minute before he stunningly tipped an open shot by Landon Donovan wide of the post in the 31st minute, causing the US star to drop to his knees in disbelief.
“It’s a zone,” Onstad said. “It’s something where you’re pulling stuff off and after you’ve pulled it off, I don’t think you realize you’ve done it. [Hartman] probably goes back and watches the game and goes, ‘Wow, Landon hit that ball pretty good. That was a pretty good save.’”
Onstad, meanwhile, also said that he isn’t leaning toward possibly playing for the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps in the future, despite the fact that he’s from Vancouver and played with the Vancouver 86ers during the 1980s.
Onstad has played with the Houston Dynamo since the team relocated from San Jose in 2006, and has worked with current Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear since 2005.
“We’ll see,” Onstad said. “I love Houston, I love the staff and the city. Our family is very settled there. We have three kids and I love the school district they’re in. We’re very happy, and right now Houston is home.
“Would I ever say no to anything? No. That’s impossible to say that. But at this stage, if I’m Vancouver, I don’t know if I’m looking at a 43-year-old goalkeeper.”