Fire

After waiting a year and a half, Patrick Doody takes advantage of his chance

For a season and a half Patrick Doody waited for his chance under coach Veljko Paunovic.

He finally got it last weekend against Sporting Kansas City, playing for the first time since his rookie season in 2015. He got another start, and three assists, in Saturday’s 4-1 win against New England.

“He still has a lot of things to improve, keep working, stay on the ground, but he did well,” Paunovic said. “Obviously we’re happy with his performance. In the second half he was kind of more relaxed because he was further from me on the other side of the sideline. It was a good performance from him and it’s great to have depth in that position. Obviously that was his second start this year and he’s adjusting very well. He’s giving the team what the team needs, solidness in defense and in attack he’s determined and has that great curveball and great crosses like the one that he served when Michael de Leeuw scored. That’s what we expect from him and he delivered that, so that’s great.”

Doody assisted David Accam’s goal in the 3-2 loss in Kansas City last week. Against New England he assisted Juninho’s first Fire goal, with some help from a Bastian Schweinsteiger dummy, and sent in a pearl of a cross to de Leeuw, who headed in the Fire’s third goal.

After setting up de Leeuw’s goal, Doody’s teammates piled on him in celebration of his standout play.

“I tell a lot of guys, if you’re not playing, one of the key things that you need to do is get the respect of your teammates,” Doody said. “Sometimes that’s all you can do is be a good teammate. Knowing that the guys in the locker room trust me and have confidence in me, that goes a long way. It’s a really good locker room and I’m really lucky to have these guys with me.”

Doody, who is a homegrown player from Naperville, capped off his standout night by dribbling into the corner in added time, but finding room to cross into the box. From there, Luis Solignac collected the ball and scored to give Doody a hat trick of assists.

Doody’s playing time came with Brandon Vincent, the starting left back since the start of last season, going down with a quad injury in warmups before a match in Portland on July 5. On that day, Michael Harrington was the last minute replacement, but he labored to finish the match.

Doody has since stepped in as the start and, while he was burned for a goal in Kansas City, has produced on the attacking end.

“It’s all about just trying to be ready,” Doody said. “Brandon has had a great year, an outstanding year, and it’s unfortunate what happened to him. Through this whole time I’ve just been trying to be ready and grateful that coach gave me an opportunity. I’m trying to keep staying out there, that’s how it is.”

Doody is in his third year in the league and has made nine appearances and eight starts with the Fire. He has spent much of his time with the Fire on loan, most of which has been with Saint Louis FC. Doody had another stint in Missouri earlier this summer.

His man of the match performance on Saturday will help make the case that he can stick in MLS.

“Everyone in here has something to prove,” Doody said. “This is my third year with the team. Obviously being a homegrown guy, it means a lot to me being on this team. I knew this year was going to have to be a big one, especially after how last year didn’t necessarily go my way. I’m really grateful for the opportunity. I have a lot that I really want to get better at, but tonight was a special night.”