GUADALAJARA, Mexico — Thrust into the limelight at the most important time of América de Cali's season, American goalkeeper Diego Restrepo started what is likely to be a run of games in the first team with a clean sheet.
Playing in the quarterfinals of the playoffs in Colombia's top division, América tied 0-0 against Once Caldas, despite the latter going down to ten men when striker John Freddy Pajoy was sent off in the fifth minute.
Los Diablos Rojos failed to take advantage and Once Caldas had chances of their own, forcing University of Virginia alum Restrepo, known in Colombia as “el Gringo,” into a number of saves.
The 23-year-old Restrepo has been América's No. 2 'keeper for much of the season, but is due for a run in the first team after usual netminder Julián Viáfara failed a drugs test and was banned for six months.
The return leg is on Thursday.
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.