HOUSTON – On a night with a lot of change, it was a familiar face that served the biggest notice. Taking over the No. 1 goalkeeper spot for good, Tyler Deric put on a show in goal using diving saves, quick grabs and even flying punches to keep a determined Columbus Crew SC attack at bay in a 1-0 shutout win.
“We’ve been saying since last year, even before [Tally] got injured Tyler showed he was a number one ‘keeper and can take the spot if need be,” said left back DaMarcus Beasley. “They got a couple of chances but he came up and made huge saves for us and kept us in the game. That’s what it’s all about, a team effort. We don’t have a star … we need every player to be at 100 percent and Tyler was at 150 today.”
Deric finished the final nine games of 2014 as the starter in place of the injured Tally Hall, who was traded to week two opponent Orlando City SC in the offseason, and did a good job.
Saturday, however, was the night in which he made the job his. Coming into preseason as the favorite to win the job after six years as an understudy there was intrigue as to how he’d do. In his first test of the season Crew SC controlled 61 percent of the ball and fired off 18 shots.
The homegrown goalkeeper responded with six saves, including a pair of second half diving attempts that kept sure goals out of the net and made Giles Barnes' 66th minute goal a winner.
“Its good confidence for him and it carries over from what he was doing last year and that’s a credit to him,” said Kofi Sarkodie. The right back played the game with a gash in his head suffered early in the first half and was forced to change his jersey due to bleeding, minutes before delivering the game-winning assist. “He made three really good saves for us, saves that Tally would’ve made for us, so it’s good to know he can do that and we can rely on him in big games.”
For Brad Davis, Deric’s and the team’s performance was a welcomed sight.
“It’s not surprising because he’s a very good goalie,” said team captain Brad Davis. “I feel like this was a game we maybe wouldn’t have won last year. There’s a change in attitude, things like that, and the biggest and most important thing is that we won the game.”
Never one to talk much, Deric shied away from talking about his performance. When asked about his performance he spoke about the goalkeepers as a group instead of himself.
“When he came in the door I told him ‘Fantastic game, well done’ and the first thing he said to me was he wasn’t happy with his kicking and wants to improve,” head coach Owen Coyle said. “I love that. He’s got every attribute to be a top end goalkeeper.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.