Fire coach considering goalie switch

July, 27, 2010
7/27/10
10:36
PM CT
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- When the Chicago Fire head to Los Angeles to take on the Galaxy on Sunday, the team might see a new goalkeeper in the net when they resume Major League Soccer action. Or they might not.

Fire head coach Carlos de los Cobos has not decided which way he is leaning for the weekend. But the uncertain tone paints a vivid picture that typical starting goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra and backup Sean Johnson have an equal fighting chance for that No. 1 slot.

Andrew Dykstra
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesAndrew Dykstra has been the Fire's starting goalie in MLS play, but will he keep that job?

"We have the whole week to see who will start in the goal," De los Cobos said Tuesday following Fire training. "Normally Andrew is No. 1, but Sean is making good work. I don't know. The players are getting the opportunities. Maybe [Sean] is fighting for this opportunity. I don't know. Right now, I can tell you that Andrew or Sean is starting in the goal next Sunday."

When pressed by a reporter one more time for a definitive answer, De los Cobos said, "I don't know who's starting. Maybe Sean. I don't know."

The goalkeeper watch has had some legs recently following back-to-back games with 2010 MLS SuperDraft selection Johnson in the net during SuperLiga. He played against the New England Revolution and Pumas UNAM, and in the latter match Johnson posted a clean sheet as Chicago topped Pumas, 1-0.

Whatever De los Cobos decides, Dykstra said this fuels his competitive side.

"It helps push me. It keeps me honest, teaching me some humility sometimes," Dykstra said. "I've seen and trained with Sean every day. So I knew he was decent. And those performances are only going to make me better. I've got to push myself."

Dykstra's last match was one that collectively the team would like to forget -- a 5-1 loss to Monarcas Morelia in the SuperLiga opener.

"We just flat-out weren't ready, so we kind of blew it," Dykstra said. "We didn't look great against New England, and then the last game it was quite the opposite. Everyone was on point. [Defenders] C.J. [Brown] and Wilman [Conde] were both back there for the first time in the tournament, and the chemistry was there, and they did really well. That game, I was told by my goalkeeper coach [Aron Hyde] to just put aside, and that's what I did. I'm just looking ahead."

De los Cobos' crystal ball into the goalkeeping matter could be fuzzy for the next few days. Johnson showed some comfort the last time Fire fans saw him in the goal box, and only time will tell what the L.A. game will bring.

"He looked good. He looked solid for us," Dykstra said of Johnson's performance against Pumas. "You know that if they're not using me, he can stand in there."

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