The Houston Chronicle is reporting that Dynamo goalkeeper Pat Onstad traveled to Germany yesterday to have surgery to repair a bilateral abdominal strain.
Head coach Dominic Kinnear had this to say about Onstad's trip.
He's traveling to Germany as we speak to have abdominal surgery. They specialize in that surgery over there. Recovery is pretty quick, like 10 to 20 days.
This news is a bit of a mixed bag for the Dynamo team and fans who love seeing Onstad between the posts on game days. Onstad, a veteran keeper who helped the team win two consecutive MLS Cups, has not had the type of year fans have come to expect. The keeper has been forced to deal with a number of injuries and has missed more games this season than any previous year. Onstad has been forced to contend with injuries in Houston's defense, meaning the chemistry and communication normally there has, at times, been strained.
Onstad's surgery and recovery time mean back-up shot stopper, Tally Hall, will continue to get quality minutes in games that matter. In the past, Hall typically only saw time in the U.S. Open Cup and occasional CONCACAF Champions League matches. This season, however, Hall has seen his first set of starts in MLS play and has been the only keeper in SuperLiga and Open Cup competition.
While Hall's numbers are not overly impressive (five goals against in three games, shot stopping percentage of 64.% and goals against average of 1.67 in MLS play), he has shown great skill in his positioning, improvements in his shot stopping abilities and a willingness to get big and quickly close down attackers.
Hall looks set to be the keeper of the future for the Dynamo and next few games will give the coaching staff and fans an idea of what can be expected of the 25-year-old in the years to come.
That's not to say that the upcoming schedule is easy; assuming Onstad is out 30 days (21 days of recovery and 9 extra for travel, rehab and practice), Hall will play against Monarcas Morelia, Seattle Sounders, New England Revolution (twice if both advance to the SuperLiga final), Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids and maybe the San Jose Earthquakes. All of these games matter and three of them would be against competition in the Western Conference.
The loss of Onstad is big for the Dynamo, but professionals know they need to step up when their number is called and we all should expect Tally Hall to step in and try to fill Onstad's big gloves.