In the past, the CONCACAF Champions League has been a chance for young or seldom-used Houston Dynamo players to show what they can do.
And although 23-year-old goalkeeper Tyler Deric fits both of those criteria, neither will be the reason he starts in El Salvador against CD FAS on Wednesday night (9 CT, Fox Soccer) ahead of incumbent Tally Hall.
“He’s going to play on Wednesday and he’s going to play well,” said head coach Dominic Kinnear after Monday’s training. “He’s pushing Tally and the guys think a lot of him and the coaches think a lot of him. Every time he’s been called upon to play in first-team games, he’s been more than ready so I think he’s going to do well for us.”
Deric built that confidence with good performances in US Open Cup play and in a friendly against Valencia earlier this season. With another opportunity in Champions League play, he only needs to look to the player he trains with every day to understand the type of opportunity ahead of him.
Hall made his mark in CONCACAF play in 2009. After arriving in Houston following a stint in Denmark to back up legend Pat Onstad, Hall took his opportunity and came up big in games against the likes of Pachuca at home and in rough environments in Panama against Árabe Unido and El Salvador against Isidro Metapán, where he actually scored a goal.
“Tally and I always talk and I know he has a great history in CONCACAF and has played well in a lot of games,” Deric said. “Luckily, I was on the bench for some of those games, so I saw first-hand what the atmosphere is like.
“I’m really excited because we’ve had some interesting experiences with things like the lights turning off and with rowdy crowds,” the young goalkeeper continued. “It adds a lot to how you play when they’re yelling at you. It’s great to play in and I’m really excited.”
With several regulars slated to get a rest Wednesday, Deric is just one in a group of players including youngsters Warren Creavalle and Kofi Sarkodie and veterans such as Brian Ching that will be called upon to get it done in El Salvador.
On a team that takes pride in their depth, Deric, like rest of his teammates, is out to show what he can do on a stage that – contrary to what some think – carries a lot of importance.
“It makes me very mad when people say we don’t take this tournament seriously,” Deric said. “I want to go out there and try my best and prove to this organization that I’m a good goalkeeper. I haven’t had much experience, but I’m going to go out there and show them what I can do and play for the coaching staff who has shown they believe in me.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.