D.C. United Midfielder Plays in Goal
In my horribly earnest application letter to The Post eight years ago, I mentioned this (then) recent baseball game I had watched in which catcher Brent Mayne was forced to take the mound after his team ran out of pitchers. He got the win. I wrote something horribly, embarrassingly earnest about how much fun it was to watch grown men giggling over this positional mix-up, and how that game showed how sports let people forget the real world and act like little kids.
So I'd hardly be justifying my employment if I didn't mention D.C. United's reaction when ejections of their top two available keepers put midfielder Quavas Kirk in goal during an international tournament in Mexico Tuesday night.
"He didn't even know how to put the outfit on right," Ben Olsen said.
"Quavas has to figure out, as a goalie, you put on your shirt before you put on your gloves," Coach Tom Soehn said. "He didn't figure that out until it was too late."
Indeed, the image of Kirk struggling to slide the jersey arms over his oversized gloves was the one that stuck with several members of United. Kirk--known to teammates as "Courvoisier"--was already on the field when Louis Crayton was ejected. No one was left on the bench. Kirk saw assistant coach Chad Ashton motioning him over for a word.
"I thought he was calling me over to the side to put me up top or something, to hold the ball," Kirk said. "And he was like, 'You're going to have to go in goal.' And I was like, "Please, no. Oh God.' "
"I don't even know why I gave him my shirt and my gloves," said Crayton, who apologized to United fans for losing control of his emotions. "You know, I just saw him walking in my direction, so I'm like, 'I think you're the best one.' "
Kirk hadn't played in goal since he was 5, and said he was "terrible" back then. Field players often screw around in goal at the end of United practice; "never did it," Kirk said. He figured Ashton picked him because he was the tallest player left on the field. Teammates told him just to get in goal see what would happen.
"I was like, 'Uh oh,' " Kirk told me. "I was so nervous. I tried to make it appear like I wasn't nervous, so I did the whole grab-the-crossbar thing and then come down. And then as soon as I saw the dude taking the ball down the line, I was like, 'Uh, what do I do now? Should I stand here? Near post? Should I go out toward the center? What do I do?' He passed the ball, it was offsides, and I was like, 'Oh thank God.' "
The remaining few minutes of playing time were spent in Cruz Azul's end, leaving a small sample size on which to judge Kirk's showing.
"Phenomenal," Devon McTavish said. "He kept the shutout."
"It was not pretty seeing him in goal," Olsen said.
"Not [fun] at all," Kirk said "I was just frightened when I went in there. It was frightening, and I was mad that we had two red cards. It was a bad situation. It was just ugly."
But t was pointed out that he did, indeed, preserve
the his personal shutout, at which point Kirk smiled.
"I kept it real," he said.
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