NEW YORK (Monday, April 12, 2004) – San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper Pat Onstad was named Honda MLS Player of the Week by the Professional Soccer Reporters Association (PSRA) for the week ending April 10, 2004 (Week 2). The Canadian international made five saves as he earned his first clean sheet of the season in a 0-0 tie against the Chicago Fire on Saturday afternoon at Spartan Stadium in a match which marked the defending champions’ 2004 home opener.
The reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year earns his second career MLS Player of the Week award, having last been recognized in Week 6 of the 2003 season following another 0-0 tie against the Fire. The 36-year-old netminder, who broke the Earthquakes club record with a League-leading nine shutouts last year, made several decisive stops in Saturday’s rematch of MLS Cup 2003.
"Pat's a big-game player," Chicago Head Coach Dave Sarachan said of Onstad. "When you're going to beat Pat, you really have to beat him. He made some big saves today."
In the 23rd minute Onstad deflected a spectacular Ante Razov overhead volley, punching it over the crossbar. With less than five minutes remaining in the match, Onstad foiled Razov again as the forward’s shot on goal from the right side of the penalty area was tipped over the crossbar by Onstad, who also saved a Razov penalty kick during MLS Cup 2003.
"In a game like this, the goalkeeper is going to get a chance to help his team – that is what I am there for,” Onstad said after the game. “Chicago has a good team and they are going to get some good chances. They are an attacking team which likes to go forward and get results. On the save against Razov in the first half, it was a nice ball on the back post and there wasn't much a defender can do."
During the 2003 campaign, his debut season in the League, Onstad was the leader in every significant goalkeeping category in MLS for the majority of the season. Among goalkeepers who played 15 or more matches, he also recorded the best goals against average of 1.04. He is the third San Jose goalkeeper to be recognized as Player of the Week (Joe Cannon - 2000, Dave Salzwedel – 1997, Pat Onstad – 2003). The native of Vancouver, British Columbia was acquired by the Earthquakes on March 13, 2003 after the club's preseason starting goalkeeper Jon Conway suffered a broken ankle. He proceeded to start 27 of the club’s 30 regular season matches last year.
The Honda MLS Player of the Week is selected every week throughout the
MLS regular season by a panel of journalists from the Professional Soccer
Reporters Association (PSRA). Los Angeles Galaxy forward Carlos Ruiz and
D.C. United forward Ronald Cerritos finished behind Onstad as the runners-up
for this week’s award.
2004 HONDA PLAYER OF THE WEEK WINNERS: