FRISCO, Texas – It seems as if every time Richard Sanchez leaves FC Dallas to join the Mexican youth national teams, he comes back to north Texas with another major trophy or personal accolade. Not to mention a throng of new reporters covering his every move.
Fresh off winning the CONCACAF U-20 Championship with Mexico, as well as being named goalkeeper of the tournament, Sanchez was back with FCD on Wednesday for his first training session with the club in quite some time.
“It was an awesome experience,” Sanchez said about winning the regional U-20 competition less than two years after winning the U-17 World Cup in Mexico. “We were at home again, this time with the CONCACAF tournament and we won it, so all around, it was great to be back and win the tournament.”
For the American-born Sanchez, playing against the United States in the final could have been an awkward experience, especially considering he had never faced the US in a meaningful match. But the jovial ‘keeper said it was really just a happy feeling.
“I played against them in friendly games, but I haven’t ever played against them with Mexico and to play against them in the CONCACAF final was a dream come true,” said Sanchez. “It’s definitely a rivalry between us and so to play in the game was great.”
For as long as Sanchez plays for the Mexican national team, his Los Angeles upbringing will be a talking point, but Sanchez said he was impressed by the American squad, many of whom were, like him, Mexican-American.
“It’s interesting to see that,” Sanchez said. “You see a lot of Hispanics on the US side and obviously the Mexicans have it as well, so it almost feels like you’re playing against another Mexican national team and they have great talent. They have a great team, the US, so just overall I guess it just goes to show how much talent there is here in the States and the overall diversity that’s here.”
While preparations for the U-20 World Cup in Turkey this summer will begin in the coming months, the focus now turns back to FCD. Sanchez could be called up to fill in as the backup goalkeeper in the near future as Raúl Fernández joins the Peruvian national team later this month. Head coach Schellas Hyndman seems to be gaining more faith in him every day.
“He made a save in training and I said to one of the assistants that he would not have made that save last year,” Hyndman told reporters on Wednesday. “I think he’s playing his best soccer right now."