View from the booth: Onstad
and former A-League 'Keeper of the Year with Rochester -- to become a steadying influence on the Quakes. He is held in the utmost regard by his teammates.
"He's about as honest as they come," said Landon Donovan.
And you wanna talk about resilient. If you remember that awful own goal he caused in his Spartan Stadium debut, a 1-1 draw with Kansas City in April 2003, then I'm sure you recall that he followed that up with a 1-0 win over L.A., a 2-0 win over the Revolution and a 0-0 game with Chicago.
"He'll tell you about K.C. last year," said Donovan. "He's open to any discussion."
Who would have figured in April last year, Donovan and Onstad would be standing together in their tuxedos in Los Angeles in November, being introduced as part of the MLS Best XI? Just part of the growing Pat Onstad legend, I suppose.
You can't really lay much of the blame on Onstad for what happened in a 5-5 game May 8 against the Metrostars, though it affected him a lot. "I've never given up five goals in my professional career," Onstad said. "I didn't know how I would respond this week. I'm pretty pleased with my performance."
I should say so. He made 10 saves in a 2-1 win at Dallas on Saturday night, a victory that gets the Quakes off the bottom of the table and within three points of Los Angeles, with the Galaxy in Spartan Stadium this week.
Kinnear said before the game in the Cotton Bowl that he wasn't worried about Onstad. He thought Pat had forgotten about the Metrostars game.
"He doesn't know me very well," Onstad said with a chuckle, after the game. "I didn't get much sleep this week. You look at the tape of the game and watch the goals and the first two were world class. I don't think I've ever been beat by such a great strike as Joselito Vaca's."
Onstad wasn't about to let it happen against the Burn. He made what was possibly his most important and courageous save of the game in the first 60 seconds. With Eric Quill making a bee-line to the back post on a cross from the right side, Onstad met Quill, kept his form and knocked the ball right out of the air on what surely would have been a goal. It was physical confrontation and not the last time he would have to make a save on Quill. For the game, Onstad faced 13 corner kicks and innumerable crosses and centering passes, yet allowed one goal and was a slam dunk for Man of the Match.
"He made a statement," said Donovan, who scored one of the Quakes two goals. "Pat proved why he was the goalie of the year last year."
Pat Onstad was always on the radar of former coach Frank Yallop. They were, after all, teammates on the Canadian national team for nearly seven years. It was Jon Conway's misfortune -- a broken ankle in the 2003 preseason training -- that got Onstad in a San Jose uniform. So it should say a lot about the character of both goalkeepers when Conway offered Onstad some of his playing time in the friendly last week against Sporting Lisbon, so Pat could get the taste of the Metrostars game out of his mouth in a hurry. Onstad and Coach Kinnear said thanks, but no thanks. Conway will get plenty of opportunities this summer to be in the nets when Onstad joins Canada for World Cup qualifying, a preview of which will be available at Spartan Stadium when the Quakes play Yallop's side June 5 in Canada's final tune-up before beginning the road toward Germany 2006.
"I'm excited for that game," Onstad said. "I'll probably play for Canada. It'll be fun to play against the guys."
He said right now the most important thing is getting his club back on track for their run at a third MLS title in the last four years.
"We're not there yet," Onstad said. "But we're not far off."
And that's one honest man's opinion.
John Shrader has been the voice of the Earthquakes since 1996 and has worked in television and radio in the Bay Area for the past 20 years. You can find his weekly column every Monday on SJearthquakes.com.