Locked into new battle with Dan Kennedy, FC Dallas 'keeper Chris Seitz looks to build on strong Week 1

FRISCO, Texas – From Kevin Hartman to Raul Fernandez and on to Dan Kennedy, FC Dallas has made a habit of fielding quality goalkeepers over the past five years.

The surplus of talent has been a luxury for the club, but it’s made things tough for Chris Seitz, who’s had a difficult time consistently cracking the starting the lineup since joining the club in 2011.

“Every year I’ve been here, it’s been a really good competition between all the goalkeepers,” Seitz told MLSSoccer.com. “It’s kind of crazy to look at everyone I’ve been here with.”

Even with the steady flow of fierce competition next to Seitz, the nine-year veteran has seen his starting opportunities increase in each of his first four seasons with Dallas. After starting only one game in 2011, he started four games in 2012, eight in 2013, and 14 last season.

Seitz, who turns 28 on Thursday, started his second-straight opening night on Saturday, posting a shutout in FC Dallas’ 1-0 win against San Jose. He played flawlessly on Saturday, making a pair of saves and bailing his defense out after a handful of mental lapses.

“Whenever you have an opportunity like that, you want to show up,” he said.

It is nearly impossible to predict who will start on a week-to-week basis for an Oscar Pareja coached team, but Seitz is making the most of his opportunities. Even though Dallas acquired ex-Chivas USA standout Kennedy in the offseason, Seitz is neck and neck with the seasoned vet in the eyes of the coaching staff.

“Seitz has first taken his game to a different level of responsibility with his body and responsibility with the way he approaches training,” Pareja said. “I know he feels now that he’s really fighting for a spot in the starting lineup for real.”

Kennedy’s arrival seemed to be another blow to Seitz’s quest for consistency in the lineup, with the Dallas newcomer’s resume including a 2012 All-Star selection and 451 career saves, 17th best in MLS history.

But Seitz possesses one quality that Kennedy simply does not – longevity with FCD.

“Anytime we’ve relied on Chris, he’s come through for us,” goalkeeper coach Drew Keeshan told MLSSoccer.com.

When it comes to dissecting the differences between the two ‘keepers, many players and coaches see it as splitting hairs. The tight race fits naturally with Pareja and his staff’s culture of competition – one that leaves players scratching and clawing in every practice for their chance to start.

“They’re both number ones,” Keeshan said. “Chris got the start last weekend, but that doesn’t mean Dan’s not going to get the start next weekend.”

Regardless of who gets the nod in the coming weeks, Seitz’s performance on Saturday has left Pareja with yet another starting XI conundrum. That’s quite alright with the ‘keeper, who is hoping to keep rolling with another appearance in the lineup on Saturday against Sporting Kansas City.

“That’s a good start, and it’s something we definitely want to build off of and continue to grow from,” Seitz said.