Dayne St. Clair has a proven track record on loan; Now is the time for his opportunity with Minnesota United FC

Before the world turned upside down, Dayne St. Clair, future Minnesota United goalkeeper, had the opportunity to get some well-deserved quality minutes, being on loan to USL San Antonio FC Championship team. in February.

Although a global pandemic pushed the opportunity back for a few months, St. Clair proved it was ready to grab the stage when the league resumed play in July.

“Coach [Alen] Marcina asked me about this Dayne goalkeeper who was available, and I immediately jumped at the chance because I had followed him, ”said San Antonio goalkeeper manager Juan Lamadrid during a telephone conversation. “We were very happy to have him here for all these months and to have the experience to work with him and see his potential.”

That praise comes from a Lamadrid coach who worked with US Men’s National Team goaltender Brad Guzan as well as MLS veterans Josh Saunders and David Bingham. Not to mention his 12 years as a pro in Mexico.

St. Clair’s first appearance for San Antonio was on July 20, and the 23-year-old started each of the team’s first five games after the restart. In those appearances, St. Clair allowed a total of three goals and scored three clean sheets, earning both man of the match and stoppage of the week honors during his short stint in the second tier of the US Soccer.

“As a member of the team he immediately fell into the culture of the club, and he was also very humble,” said Lamadrid. “He’s a winner, you know?” He hates to lose.

As well as coaching St. Clair and helping guide his development in the south, Lamadrid had a front row seat daily to watch the aspiring superstar show off all of his skills both on the training ground and, obviously, in the field. the games.

“His footwork is one of a kind that you don’t see in the United States,” Lamadrid said. “I think he has all the tools and the talent to go beyond MLS for sure.”

Although the generation pick Adidas SuperDraft 2019 has only played less than a month of games on loan, Minnesota United announced in St. Clair on Wednesday that they were recalled after starting goaltender Tyler Miller underwent successful surgery. of the hip.

Currently in a league-imposed 10-day quarantine due to the return to Minnesota, St. Clair will not be available for the Loons’ opener with Sporting Kansas City on Friday night at Allianz Field, and all indications are Starting job now is compatriot Canadian Greg Ranjitsingh to lose once St. Clair becomes available.

“Dayne played a few games for us around this time last year and had some great results,” Minnesota United coach Adrian Heath said on a media conference call this week. “We would have no qualms [inserting St. Clair] if anything happened to Greg.

Having invested heavily in St. Clair, both with a top pick and financially, many United loyalists wonder why he won’t have a real chance to start. A feeling that is shared by the man who took a closer look at him in San Antonio.

“He was growing minute by minute with every game,” said Lamadrid. “As a goalkeeper you just need games. It takes rhythm.

St. Clair’s first taste of professional playing time came last season when Minnesota was on loan to USL League One forward Madison, where the former Maryland had four shutouts in five. departures. In total, St. Clair’s have played 10 USL games since being drafted by Minnesota, totaling seven clean sheets.

As Heath mentioned, St. Clair also found time with the first team in a pair of international friendlies last summer.

So what should happen with “DSC” now that he’s back in a Loons uniform? On the one hand, it makes sense to recall St. Clair whether he is starting or not. Your only other healthy save option is a 16-year-old local academy player who, while making excellent progress in training with the first team, is far from ready to take on MLS duties.

But what about its evolution? All St. Clair has done since turning pro is show he can perform and do whatever he is asked to do, and at least one seasoned goaltender coach thinks he can. It’s time for him to be given a legitimate start up opportunity in MLS.

“For me he’s ready,” Lamadrid said. “After a few games he’s going to keep going up and up.”

And his ceiling?

“He can play abroad without a problem.”

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