A goalkeeper controversy at FC Dallas? That’s news to Raúl Fernández. The Peruvian international returned to his club this past weekend and was adamant the job was his after posting a clean sheet at New England.
“I worked hard to be the No. 1,” he told MLSsoccer.com through an interpreter after the 1-0 win. “I understand my reputation and I’ll compete with Chris Seitz, Kyle Zobeck, Richard Sanchez and all our ‘keepers. But I work hard to be the No. 1. I was the No. 1 here today and there were no goals.”
With Seitz coming on strong during his absence, and with Fernández enduring questions about his ability to communicate with a mostly English-speaking backline, even FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman acknowledged that the competition for the starting spot continued through Week 5.
Fernández believes his results on the field say otherwise.
“I’m working hard with the defenders trying to get the communication issues worked out,” he said as to one of the knocks on him, “but I showed [Saturday] that this is not a problem. It’s not an issue at all.”
The 27-year-old had little to do in the first half of Saturday’s game as the Revolution managed only one attempt on goal, but they created numerous quality chances in the second half, including a point-blank shot by Juan Toja in the 80th minute.
But the debate will likely continue. Fernández will be out of more matches for FCD this season as he hopes to backstop Peru through a brutal battle in South American qualifying that he hopes will result in La Blanquirroja’s first World Cup berth in 32 years. And until someone makes a clear case to take his club gig away, it’s his.
“Next weekend, maybe somebody will score a goal and the questions will be different,” he said. “But I work hard every day to be the No. 1. I’m the No. 1 of the national team of my country and I want to be the No. 1 here.”