The time has come for Switchbacks coach Steve Trittschuh to settle on a primary goalkeeper following the team’s elimination from U.S. Open Cup play Wednesday at San Antonio.
It doesn’t look to be an easy choice, however.
Moise Pouaty handled 120 minutes plus the shootout Wednesday, which San Antonio won 5-3, while Steward Ceus started the first three and last two league games. Ceus has two clean sheets and wins at Weidner Field, while Pouaty has also been in goal for two wins and has three shutouts, two of which came in 0-0 draws. The other was a 4-0 win at Reno.
“I’ve got two good keepers. I can’t fault either of them,” Trittschuh said. “It’s just how can we find some confidence and get some wins.”
The splitting of time in goal is new for Ceus and Pouaty.
“This a first time it’s been like this in my career,” said Ceus, the more experienced of the two keepers who was drafted by the Colorado Rapids in the third round of the 2009 draft and spent last year with the NASL champion San Francisco Deltas.
Pouaty was the No. 1 in his first season in Colorado Springs a year ago.
“It’s been good, especially for Moise. He didn’t have competition last year,” Trittschuh said. “It’s been good for him to be sharp day in and day out.”
Ceus is expected to get the nod Saturday with St. Louis visiting Weidner Field for a 6 p.m. tilt. The 6-foot-6 Haitian international conceded an early goal in a 1-0 defeat in Missouri earlier this season, but that doesn’t look to be a motivating factor.
“I don’t think about those things,” Ceus said. “I just play every game like it’s the next.”
The relationship between Ceus and Pouaty is complicated by there only being room for one to play while both want to ultimately help the team.
“Obviously, we’re competing, but at the same time, I want him to do well, so anytime he has a question for me, I’m more than happy to answer,” Ceus said.
“I pick things up from him. He has different training than I have.”
“It’s a good thing to have somebody like him around, and he’s helped me,” Pouaty added. “I see how he plays, how he behaves, how he does things. I just learn. I learn every time, every day.”
Pouaty has allowed five goals in 630 minutes with a 78.3 save percentage, while Ceus has been beaten three times, making 70 percent of his saves in 450 minutes.
With little separating the duo on paper, it might come down to who is in goal when the team finds its collective stride.
“A lot that depends on wins and losses, because as soon as you start winning, you get that confidence,” Trittschuh said.
“You want to keep everything going. Hopefully, we can find someone to do that.”