HOUSTON – For a young professional, every game is a learning experience.
For Houston Dynamo goalkeeper Tyler Deric, Thursday night was an extraordinary one. In his sixth career start, the 23-year-old lined up between the post against Valencia, one of Spain’s most highly regarded clubs. In the end, despite allowing two goals in a 2-1 defeat, the youngster more than held his own.
“This game was tremendous and they proved last year in La Liga they're one of the best and they showed that tonight,” Deric said of the Spanish league's third-place finishers. “You try and take it all in and learn from everything as whole and become a better player.”
WATCH: Houston react to Valencia loss
Deric is a player on whom the Dynamo are extremely high. He has used Reserve League action and tournament games to show the potential the Dynamo thought he possessed when they made him their first Homegrown signing in 2008.
Relegated to the bench early in his career behind behind Pat Onstad and Tally Hall, the step from potential to production must come in games like Thursday night's friendly.
“Tyler’s a great goalkeeper, and I think he could start on any other team in this league,” midfielder Corey Ashe said. “It’s unfortunate that he has to back up a great goalkeeper like Tally. He’s very athletic and, overall, he’s a very good soccer player.”
As he has shown in his limited game action, Deric demonstrated the type of goalkeeper he can be by using positioning and athleticism to bounce back from a slow start that saw the Dynamo go down 2-1 in the first 17 minutes.
Deric made four saves and took command of his area while keeping Houston in the match against a highly touted Los Che squad. Now the step for Deric is to turn the experience into something tangible.
“Tyler, I thought, looked very good in this game and Tuesday’s US Open Cup game [at San Antonio],” Dynamo boss Dominic Kinnear said. “Any game situation he plays is good for Tyler. He takes it seriously and wants to get better and wants to play. A game like this is only going to benefit him and benefit us in the long run.”
Attack shows well
Dynamo captain Brian Ching said early in the week that he was excited to play Valencia when his club was in top form. While Calen Carr provided the highlight with a sterling 14th-minute strike, it was a great opportunity for Houston to see how they stacked up for 90 minutes.
“We had some really good moments and played well in stretches,” Carr said. “We responded well and created a number of opportunities throughout the game. These exhibition games are a lot of fun and you get to test yourself against a club that’s playing Champions League football. It was exciting for the players and fans tonight.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.