FRISCO, Texas – Every fan of the beautiful game knows that a spectacular strike for a goal is called a golazo. But what do you call a skillful, amazing save by a goalkeeper, the kind that causes one team’s fans to start screaming in anticipation of a goal, only to have the ‘keeper’s fans erupt instead after the save?
“Que tapadaza!” according to FC Dallas backstop Raúl Fernández, and he should know. Fernández has been giving Dallas fans plenty of reason to cheer this season as he leads MLS with 53 saves, including a few Save of the Week-worthy tapadazas last weekend in Portland.
“It was good that I made the saves, but we lost and it’s not about individual play, it’s all about the team,” Fernández told MLSsoccer.com through an interpreter after practice Tuesday.
FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman believes his ‘keeper has proven himself to be one of the best in the league at his position.
“I think he should be on the MLS All-Star team, but I’m not making those decisions," Hyndman told reporters after practice on Tuesday. “The fans are making those decisions and [MLS All-Star head coach Peter Vermes] will make those decisions.”
Hyndman thinks that Fernández’s positioning is one of his strengths, though goalkeeping coach Drew Keeshan has worked diligently with the Peruvian national teamer on the training pitch to curb his tendency to come out for every ball in his area.
What makes Fernández special between the pipes according to Hyndman are his reflexes and his range. He simply gets to balls that many keepers don’t.
“So much of [his] goalkeeping is instinctive and impulsive and immediate reaction to things," Hyndman said. "I’ll tell you what, I don’t know if there’s a better 'keeper in the league at handling low balls like he does."
When asked if he thought he thought he deserved consideration for the All-Star team, Fernández responded by saying, “I do feel like this is one of my best years. We’ve been doing everything well and we hope to continue it.
“There are a lot of good goalkeepers out there and I’ll have a lot of competition with them [to be selected], but I do feel that I am worthy of playing on the [All-Star] team and I would be really happy for that.”