Przemysław Tytoń’s past week was unlike any other in his life.
With Spencer Richey out with a back injury and Jimmy Hague missing practice with sickness, Tytoń was the only healthy goalkeeper FC Cincinnati had available. So, when it was time to practice, he and Goalkeeper Coach Jack Stern were alone in the back of the Mercy Health Training Center – a minor footnote in a week that contained two new signings and a new head coach.
Once kickoff came Saturday night in Columbus, however, Tytoń was not only under the spotlights, but he was the best player on the MAPFRE Stadium field.
With four saves, including two from point-blank range in stoppage time, the Polish goalkeeper helped FC Cincinnati earn a 2-2 draw at Columbus Crew SC for the first away draw since March 10 – literally five months beforehand to the day.
“I said (to the team) in the dressing room, sometimes you need goalkeepers who win the point,” Head Coach Ron Jans said. “I think he can have that compliment.”
Perhaps there’s no greater compliment for a goalkeeper.
Hardly responsible for Cincinnati’s two goals conceded, Tytoń’s dynamic performance kept the visitors in the match.
In the first half, he made a close-range save from a Gyasi Zardes attempt in the 42nd minute to keep Columbus scoreless before FCC conceded a penalty to the forward a minute later.
Over the next 45 minutes, Tytoń continued making saves, winning the ball in the air and leading his backline. While everything around him seemingly felt on fire, the Pole kept calm as the Crew closed in. Columbus finished with 19 shots, with six on target.
In stoppage time alone, the home side hit the cross bar twice and forced the keeper to make game-saving stops. Nine minutes into stoppage time, he made a sprawling save to deny a Zardes header. On the ensuing corner, Tytoń stopped another header from close range with essentially the last touch of the game.
Greg Bartram | USA Today
“I made some good saves today, which allowed us to stay in the game for some tough moments,” he said afterward. “I’m happy I could help the team. I saved those balls, but all the team worked hard from the beginning of the game. We showed from the first minute that we came here to get points.”
Tytoń simply had one of the best performances of any FC Cincinnati player this season. That he produced such a performance in the first MLS #HellisReal Derby is a significant achievement, but more importantly, it reiterated the quality of goalkeepers the Orange and Blue have on their roster.
After starting the first match of the season, his role has mostly been a limited one. While he started both 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup matches, he’s only played in six league games. Of those six, three have been Cincinnati’s last three matches.
Following the 2-1 loss at Toronto FC on July 27, Tytoń said the best thing for a goalkeeper is consistency in both performances and in making starts. The Pole is proving that.
Never! Stop! Fighting! 👐— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) August 11, 2019
“I’m happy that they continue, my games, and that I play,” he said. “I am happy that I performed well tonight, but nothing changed. I am focused on my trainings during the week and prepare as best as I can and (hope) I show it during the weekend because it’s the most important moment for a professional soccer player.”
Saturday night was FC Cincinnati’s most important match so far this season, and Tytoń showed his efforts aren’t going unnoticed – even if it means training alone with Goalkeeper Coach Jack Stern.
“This was my first time in my life that I trained just by myself and without any other keepers,” Tytoń said. “Our keepers’ coach did well to find the balance. We didn’t train too much; we didn’t train too less. There was a good balance and I performed well at the end of the week. I hope every keeper is going to be healthy soon.”