BALTIMORE - Loyola University Maryland's men's soccer goalkeeper Matt Sanchez is projected to make the start for the Puerto Rican National Team in its international friendly against Canada tonight, Monday, at the Estadio Juan Ramon Loubriel in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Game time is 7:30 p.m. ET and will be streamed live here.
"I'm so proud of Matt," Loyola head coach Steve Nichols said. "From coaching him in high school and now at Loyola, it's an honor to see how he's developed into the player that he is. To get called up to play in your first national team cap is an incredible honor and an accolade that he should be proud of."
This will be Sanchez' second stint with the Senior National Team, as he was also called up in May 2013 for the team's game against Nicaragua, but he did not play.
Tonight's game will serve a dual purpose, as it will begin to prepare the senior team for its first round match of the World Cup qualifiers in June, where it will face Grenada in a home-and-home series with the winner of that advancing to the third round of the CONCACAF qualifiers. At the same time, a subset of the team is the U-23 team that will play in the Olympics in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.
While this will be his second stint with the senior team, Sanchez has eight U-20 caps with Puerto Rico, including leading the team all the way to the final of the CONCACAF playoffs for the U-20 World Cup in the summer of 2013.
Sanchez, a sophomore transfer from Old Dominion, played every minute in goal for the Greyhounds this year. He finished the season with 70 saves and four shutouts and was named the Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week on October 6 after shutting out Colgate and again after making a career-high seven saves in a 1-1 tie against No. 20 Boston University. Throughout the season, he logged 1-1 double-overtime ties against all three nationally ranked teams the Greyhounds faced this year, including No. 21 UMBC, an NCAA College Cup semifinalist.