FRISCO, Texas – He took the long way around, but FC Dallas Homegrown goalkeeper Richard Sanchez finally got some meaningful minutes with the first team Wednesday night, playing the second half of the team’s 2-0 loss to Barlcay’s Premier League side Aston Villa.
“As a youngster, I feel like there is a mental game that I need to work on,” Sanchez said after the game. “Tonight, I felt mentally prepared. There are just a few details that I need to be better at.
“It was good to be back and play with teammates I am familiar with. This game served as good experience for me, in my career. It was good. I hope to keep progressing from here.”
Sanchez originally signed with FC Dallas as a Homegrown player in February of 2011, but since then, he had only seen time in preseason and in reserve matches, despite being the goalkeeper for the Mexican U-17 side when they won the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2011.
He did have a successful loan spell with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the NASL in 2013, but otherwise he has been stuck behind 2013 MLS All-Star Raul Fernandez and veteran Chris Seitz for much of his career.
On June 24 of this year, it was announced that Sanchez had been sold to Liga MX side Tigres UANL. But on July 4, Seitz injured his right quad while taking a goal kick during FC Dallas’ 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Union and on July 19, Dallas announced via Twitter that the transfer had been delayed to allow Sanchez to remain with the MLS side.
“It is great to have him when we need him,” said head coach Oscar Pareja. “It is great to have this partnership with Tigres which gives us flexibility. They worked great with us and the league to delay the transfer and give us the opportunity to have him.”
The timeline for finalizing the sale and sending him to Mexico will depend on Seitz’s return. From all indications, that will happen before the close of the summer transfer window for Mexico later this year.
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While the road to real first team action was more meandering than Sanchez maybe would have preferred, the experience was a positive one.
With the team already down 1-0 from a late first half goal, Sanchez and FC Dallas were tested early in the second half when Nick Walker fouled Gabby Agbonlahor at the top of the Dallas penalty area. Charles N’Zogbia took the free kick and made no mistake, burying the shot in the upper left corner of Sanchez’ goal.
But Sanchez recovered well to stay focused for the rest of the half and ended up making a quality save in the 90th minute. N’Zogbia got away from his defender and took a powerful crack at goal, but the young goalie grabbed the hard shot destined for the upper corner.
“From a goalkeeping standpoint, standing your ground and resetting, trusting your reactions,” Sanchez said about the late save. “I thought I reacted well.”