FC Tucson: All eyes are on latecomer in goal

2013-05-28T00:00:00Z FC Tucson: All eyes are on latecomer in goalDave Ord Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 28, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Guess you could say the eyes of Texas have been upon FC Tucson's goalkeeper lately.

His name is Dallas. He shut down host San Antonio. He'll try to do the same in Houston.

It may all just be a Lone Star State-sized coincidence, but fate seems to be dealing Dallas Jaye a pretty good Texas hold 'em hand as of late.

After only being brought into the club as an afterthought, the 19-year-old Californian has stepped up in both of FC Tucson's Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup wins.

Jaye allowed just one goal and snuffed out a couple of key first-half chances by Phoenix FC in the club's 2-1 first-round victory May 14. Then, he came up big, making stop after stop, in the second-round win over the San Antonio Scorpions on May 21.

The next stop on FC Tucson's Cup run will be at the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday.

But don't expect Jaye to be thinking he's locked up the spot at the top of the official lineup sheet.

"As a goalkeeper, you're job is never safe," said Jaye, who has made four appearances for the Guam national team.

"The fact that I may be starting this next game or the next couple games doesn't affect me. I know I've just got to keep working and getting better. If I am the starter, it's working to keep that job. And if I'm not, it's working to get into that spot."

Jaye only has to think back to last fall for proof.

He was a second-stringer at University of South Florida when the 2012 season started. He "just kind of worked" his way into the starting lineup, he said, and, by the end of his sophomore season, Jaye helped the Bulls reach the NCAA tournament. He ended up allowing just one goal in more than 208 postseason minutes.

The Bulls' first-round NCAA match against rival Florida Gulf Coast finished scoreless after regulation and extra time, leaving penalties to decide the outcome.

Without having to make a save in the shootout, Jaye walked away a winner in Tampa, Fla., after a shot by a FGCU player went wide.

He did the same in San Antonio last week when FC Tucson won on penalties after two Scorpions skyed their spot kicks and FC Tucson went 4 for 4 on its penalties.

"As a keeper, you want to make that save, you want to be the hero in that situation," Jaye said. "But we did what we wanted to do. The guys stepped up and made their PKs. If I don't have to do anything, fine. It's all good as long as you get the victory."

Victory, however it comes, is sweet, but making history is sweeter. The win over the professional club from San Antonio made FC Tucson the first Arizona team ever to triumph in a second-round U.S. Open Cup match.

The accomplishment seems even greater for Jaye, who wasn't even a part of the team's plans until recently.

"Dallas came out to Tucson just to train," FC Tucson coach Rick Schantz said. "He expected not to play at all. He expected he would be a third, maybe even a fourth, goalkeeper. … (General manager Jon) Pearlman said, 'I want to bring in this kid from Florida.' I said, 'We've already got three goalkeepers; what do I need a fourth for?' And, of course like any coach, if I can afford to get him out here, the more guys we can look at the better.

"I'm sure glad we did take a chance on him because he's really performed well."

Up next

• What: Lamar Hunt U.S. Open third-round match

• Who: FC Tucson at Houston Dynamo

• Where: BBVA Compass Stadium

• When: 5:30 p.m., Wednesday

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