By RODNEY PAGE
© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 11, 2001
Mutiny coach Perry Van Der Beck gave newly acquired goalkeeper Adin Brown a guarantee when he arrived from Colorado on June28.
"I told him, "You will get some action,' " Van Der Beck said. "Unfortunately that's the way it's been here."
Van Der Beck wasn't kidding. The Mutiny has allowed 353 shots, most in Major League Soccer. Brown has played seven games for the Mutiny, and he quickly found out what it's like being in the line of fire. He has faced 57 shots, just over eight per game, and made 38 saves. In nine games with Colorado he faced 67 shots.
But Saturday against San Jose, Brown showed glimpses of what made him a star on the under-23 national team and with the Rapids. He made 10 saves in a 2-0 win over the Earthquakes, the Mutiny's first shutout in 31 MLS games, including last season's playoffs.
Several saves were one-on-one breakaways, some were from point blank and others were just pure luck. He was named MLS player of the week.
"Sometimes it's going to break down and you're going to have to be there," Brown said. "That's the nature of the game. Having a game like that, it helps you build confidence. Hopefully it will carry over into the next game."
Brown, 23, has learned to keep things in perspective. A star at William and Mary, the California native was tabbed as the starting goalkeeper for the United States at the 2000 Olympics.
But a string of nagging injuries, including surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his right knee in June, cut his summer short. Tim Howard became the Olympic starter and Brown stayed home.
"At first I had a hard time watching it on TV," Brown said. "I wanted to be there. But after a while it was fine because they were doing so well."
So his focus shifted to getting healthy and helping Colorado win. He wanted to play a full season with the Rapids to wash away the memories of 2000.
Things were going fine until the trade, which he never saw coming. He went to a team with a worse record, in an unfamiliar city, and had to leave his dog behind.
"The first two weeks I was like, "What just happened?' " Brown said. "But the team network here was phenomenal. I felt like part of the team right when I got here. It turned out to be a lot better for me in my career and my personal life. I love it here."
Mutiny defenders love playing in front of the 6-foot-5, 200-pound Brown. If there is a defensive lapse, of which there have plenty of this season, they know Brown likely will bail them out.
"You always want to know that the last guy back there is going to cover for you if you make a mistake," defender Steve Trittschuh said. "In the last game he did that. It was one of the best I've ever seen. It feels good have him back there."
Van Der Beck, a player for nearly 20 years, also knows the importance of having a solid goalkeeper. And he's very familiar with Brown.
"I saw him play a couple college games and I also saw him play with the Olympic team in San Diego," Van Der Beck said. "I was very aware of his capabilities. Until you get him here you don't really appreciate his abilities. I've played with a lot of keepers, and it's very important to know that you have a guy back there who is vocal and is confident."
Brown is sure to face plenty of shots tonight against Chicago. The Fire boasts a trio of dangerous forwards in Hristo Stoitchkov, Eric Wynalda and Ante Razov. But Brown has been adjusting since he got in the league last season.
"(College to pro) was a huge change," Brown said. "I was lucky enough to train with the Olympic team and most of those guys were professionals. That helped me make the transition easier. I got to play with those guys while I was still in college. I got to play in games where the weight was on your shoulders. That made things a lot easier."
TRADE: The Mutiny sent its third-round pick in the 2002 draft to Chicago for defender Diego Sonora. He will join the Mutiny when he obtains a work visa, likely 10-14 days. Sonora, 32, played in MLS from 1996-99 and spent last season training with Boca Juniors in his native Argentina.
WHEN/WHERE: 8; Soldier Field.
TV/RADIO: Sunshine; WWBA-AM 1040, WAMA-AM 1550 (Spanish).
RECORDS: Mutiny 4-16-1, Fire 11-5-4.
COACHES: Mutiny -- Perry Van Der Beck. Fire -- Bob Bradley.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Mutiny -- F Mamadou Diallo, M Steve Ralston, G Adin Brown, D Steve Trittschuh, M Eric Quill. Fire -- F Eric Wynalda, G Zach Thornton, F Hristo Stoitchkov, M Dema Kovalenko, M Peter Nowak.
NOTES: Mutiny midfielder Danny Pena is serving a one-game suspension for accumulation of yellow card points. Chicago F Josh Wolff is out with a broken left foot. Fire F Ante Razov, who joined the team last week after playing in the Spanish Second Division, could start tonight. The Mutiny is 0-4-1 at Soldier Field. Tampa Bay, coming off a win Saturday, has not won two straight this season. The Mutiny has only one win against Central Division opponents, 4-2 over Dallas in the season opener. Tampa Bay will use its 22nd different starting lineup in as many games.