Valparaiso junior goalkeeper Ryan Schwarz (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) stepped up in goal for the Chicago Fire PDL on Tuesday, coming in off the bench and making six key saves in the final 30 minutes of a 3-1 victory over five-time National Amateur Cup champions Milwaukee Bavarian SC as the Fire PDL advanced to the second round of U.S. Open Cup play. Schwarz was named Chicago’s Man of the Match for his effort.
Schwarz came in for Chicago after its starting goalkeeper was red-carded in the 59th minute. He immediately gave up a penalty kick tally which stemmed from the red card infraction, but would surrender nothing else to the Milwaukee side, prompting Chicago Fire PDL President John Dorn to remark, “(Schwarz) took control of the defense and made six tough saves and snared a good number of dangerous crosses into the box that could have turned that match upside down for us. He was a star tonight — a real star.”
The U.S. Open Cup is an American soccer competition open to all United States Soccer Federation affiliated sides, from amateur adult club teams to Major League Soccer squads. This is the Fire PDL’s third appearance in the Open Cup in their nine years of existence. With the win Tuesday, Chicago moves on to face the Minnesota Thunder, a USL First Division side, on June 16 for the right to advance to the third round. Schwarz will likely get the start in net in that game as a result of the mandatory one-game suspension for a red card to the starting netminder.
“Ryan has been there at every training session and every match, and when he got his chance he really delivered,” said Dorn. “Ryan could be starting on more than 90% of the teams in the PDL - anywhere in the country, but he chooses to be part of our team and I’m just glad we have him with us this year. He’s made a real difference in the make-up of our team and he really delivered for his teammates tonight.”Schwarz missed the entirety of the 2008 season with the Crusaders after suffering an injury during preseason training. He was named the Horizon League Goalkeeper of the Year in 2007 after posting a 1.57 goals against average on the season, second-best in program history. He also recorded a miniscule GAA of 1.02 in Horizon League play in 2007.