HOUSTON – The glass was half full.
That’s how Tyler Deric says he saw the situation he found himself in earlier this year, when Houston Dynamo head coach Wilmer Cabrera benched him five games into the season.
“I tried to take that negative and turn it into a positive and really focus on my game and really buckle down and up my focus and preparation for the game,” Deric said. “Just working on positioning with my goalkeeping coach and getting in those scenarios that we would see in games.”
Cabrera said that due to the club’s playing style, which involves taking risks when attacking, the team needed someone who could make plenty of saves.
“We needed those moments when our goalkeepers can save us,” Cabrera added. “And right now he has good momentum so it’s a positive.”
Deric regained the starting position late May, and months after his benching, the work the Homegrown Player put into those early-season training sessions has unquestionably paid dividends.
Over the last month of the season, Deric saved the Dynamo on multiple occasions. He had 15 saves and two shutouts in October. Most notably, his work in a 0-0 draw at Sporting Kansas City in the penultimate game of the season earned the Orange a place in the 2017 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, their first postseason berth since 2013.
Deric’s heroics — not counting Thursday’s Knockout Round playoff win, in which he posted a shutout and six saves in 120 minutes, earned him October’s Alcatel MLS Player of the Month. He’s the 19th ‘keeper to get the recognition in MLS history, the sixth one to do it this decade and second this season.
“I feel like when a goalkeeper gets this type of award it really represents what the team is doing,” Deric said. “We’re playing well. We’re working hard and when a goalkeeper gets this award it reflects on the whole team.”
When asked about a potential call-up to the US national team in light of the expected turnover, Deric insisted the only soccer on his mind is Monday’s Western Conference Semifinal first leg against the Portland Timbers (8:30 p.m. CT | TICKETS).
Dynamo defender Adolfo Machado, a mainstay on the Panamanian national team, said Deric has the potential to represent the US and deserves a call-up.
“He’s demonstrated why he’s the titular ‘keeper of the Houston Dynamo,” Machado said. “And why he gives us that security between the sticks.”
The Dynamo will hope that good form and a three-game shutout streak continue against the Timbers visit BBVA Compass Stadium, a place where visitors have founds victories scarce.
“We have to keep our lines tight and we have to be concentrated and aware against Portland,” Deric said. “They have good attackers and we just have to be clued in and focused on what they’re going to throw at us.”