Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Joe Nasco had waited a long, long time for Saturday afternoon. And he made the most of his first chance in a Major League Soccer uniform.
The 30-year-old Nasco made his MLS debut in Saturday’s 1-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field, and despite the result, Nasco’s play – he had five saves – was an unquestioned bright point.
“I think he was very good. The same qualities I put him in for is what we saw today,” Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni said postgame. “We saw leadership from the back coming out for crosses. He was a very vocal player and played well [Saturday].”
The lone Seattle goal came on Clint Dempsey’s terrific 52nd minute top-corner volley (WATCH IT HERE), one that Nasco had no chance on. The former police officer who earned a spot on the Atlanta Silverbacks’ roster in an open tryout otherwise impressed, coming up with an array of saves in the second half, including a great diving one-on-one stop on Obafemi Martins inside the box (WATCH IT HERE), and Nasco kept the Nigerian off the scoresheet in the 90th minute with another fine stop (WATCH IT HERE).
“It was unbelievable,” Nasco said of the opportunity to make his debut, while adding that he was taken aback by the raucous atmosphere in Seattle. “Only a couple of things could have made it better – definitely a win and a shutout, and then my family being here. It was great.”
Nasco’s stint in goal was to give regular No. 1 Clint Irwin some rest, Mastroeni said postgame. But with rookie goalkeeper John Berner impressing at the beginning of the season and Nasco showing well in his debut on Saturday, Mastroeni has three good goalkeepers he can turn to – a positive in the face of the club’s franchise-tying six-game losing spell, with Nasco the latest addition to what looks to be the Rapids’ deepest position.
Postgame, the Birmingham-Southern product was full of praise for the team, particularly his teammates directly in front of him, despite the defeat.
“You come off of six straight losses, and it’s not like we’re playing [badly], it’s just that we’re having some unfortunate things go wrong in the back,” Nasco said. “It’s the way that you come back that builds that character and shows who you really are.”
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.
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