Union's Seitz Making Giant Strides
After Seitz put together a 28-5-3 record and a national championship in two years at the University of Maryland, RSL saw unlimited potential.
But Seitz played in only seven games in three years for RSL.
RSL’s loss eventually became Philadelphia Union’s gain.
Dating to April 30, 2007, Seitz was then the second-youngest goalkeeper to start an MLS match at 20 years and 49 days of age.
Acquired in an offseason trade, the 23-year-old Seitz is playing at a very high level over the past three games after taking some criticism early in the season. These last three games – a 1-1 tie against FC Dallas, a 3-2 win at Houston and a tough 2-1 loss at Chicago Saturday night – have shown what the technical staff saw when they traded for the talented goalkeeper.
It’s obvious that Seitz is playing with an increased level of confidence. You can see it in his body language.
“Sure, it helps a lot to be able to play consecutive games,” Seitz said. “You gain experience from playing and then working on what you need to work on in training and in the film room. Every player wants to play every day. I’m very thankful for the opportunity, and I feel like I’m improving with each game. I’m very confident in my ability and the club has sown great confidence in me.”
Early in the first half with the Union trailing 1-0 at Chicago, Seitz prevented a second goal with an outstanding save on a shot by Marco Pappa from about 14 yards out. Seitz managed to get his fingertips on the ball and was able to deflect the shot. For his effort, Seitz was awarded the NAPA Save of the Week.
It was the type of save the Union technical staff knew Seitz could make consistently in this league.
While Seitz was terrific once again, the Union fell just short with a 2-1 loss, dropping the club’s record to 2-6-1.
“I feel like we’re going in the direction where we need to be going,” Seitz said despite the loss. “I think everyone is improving and getting better all the time. Personally, I’m very confident in my game. I’ve been working with the staff and our goalkeeper coach. My goal is to keep improving every day.”
Philadelphia will try and respond Thursday at Kansas City, the eighth road match out of the club’s first 10. After that comes the long-awaited PPL Park opener June 27 against Seattle. 13 of the Union’s final 20 matches will be at home.
With Seitz playing so well, wins are very likely to follow.
“I think we need to continue to do what we have been doing,” said Captain Danny Califf. “I think (Saturday) was a 2-1 result where we had a lot of good chances and we’re doing the right things. I think we need to continue to believe and believe in the system the coaching staff has set out. Things will turn around. We’re a good team. We’re a much better team than we showed.”
Seitz has shown his variety of skills for a long time. Being able to consistently play will help immensely.
Regardless, he wants to help the Union win as many games as possible and has been thrilled since the club made the move to acquire him.
“I think we’re molding as a team,” Seitz said. “This has only been the beginning for us. You can see it in how guys are training and preparing each day. I think the rest of the season will be very exciting for us. Guys are staying together and working as one. That’s very important.”
That molding process is well underway, but it’s only been nine matches.
With Seitz protecting the Union’s goal, the remaining matches should be fun to watch.