Goalkeepers are like kickers in football. They perform separate drills from their teammates, are asked to make any play that comes their way, and are harshly criticized for their mistakes. This year, more than ever, the goalkeeper position for the Dynamo will be closely monitored, as a new sheriff will man the nets after the retirement of veteran goalkeeper and three-time MLS Cup winner Pat Onstad.
Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall returns for his third season with the Dynamo and enters preseason as the favorite to replace Onstad in net. Tyler Deric, who started and won the last two games of 2010, will push Hall for the starting job. Old Dominion University product Evan Newton joined the Dynamo through the MLS Supplemental Draft and will look to make the roster as the team’s third goalkeeper. Even with the departure of Onstad, Dynamo goalkeepers coach Tim Hanley is excited about the prospects for this season.
“They are not missing much as far as where they were last year,” Hanley said. “Both Tally and Tyler trained very hard in the offseason, and Evan has done well so far. It’s great that they come into preseason fit, because we don’t have to worry about a lot of extra fitness training; we can get right into working on their footwork and ball distribution.”
The next few weeks will be critical to the Dynamo, as they look to erase a 2010 season in which they conceded 49 goals, second worst in the league. Although he only has five regular season games under his belt, Hall has seen ample time in non-MLS games, and Hanley is confident Hall will take his game to the next level this year and help turns things around for Houston.
“[Tally] has been given the nod by Dominic [Kinnear],” Hanley said. “He is wearing that hat, and he is going to have to step up and be a leader. Even though he is only a few years older than the other goalkeepers, I think the fact that he is married and has a kid adds to his level of maturity.”
Although in many cases competition may breed contempt, Hall says that is not the case with the Dynamo's goalkeepers. Through the first week of training, he says, the goalkeepers have worked hard to push each other, whether through their individual drills with Hanley or the finishing drills against the forwards.
“This first week of training has been pretty high-energy,” Hall said. “There is a lot of excitement after this off-season ,and everyone is building off that. We have a great group of goalkeepers who are learning from one another. There are things today that I saw Tyler do very well, and I thought he was setting a great example. In the end we are just trying to learn and push one another to make each of ourselves better."