Tyler Baldock: Game of His Life Ahead Today
Tyler Baldock's first professional start would be nausea-inducing had it not been for his first professional appearance.
The Vancouver Whitecaps goalkeeper who starred at Div. 2 Carson-Newman College (Tenn.) -- enrollment 1,700 -- and this summer was stopping shots for the Premier Development League's Abbotsford Mariners has been thrust into a leading role in this USL-1 semifinal against the Montreal Impact.
Barring a reversal of Jay Nolly's red card from Friday, Baldock, 24, will be between the posts in today's must-win second leg at Swangard Stadium. He came in Friday when Nolly was ejected in minute 52.
"To get thrown into a situation like that, in front of those [12,000] Montreal fans, it's nerve-wracking, but it was a good way to get over the nervousness," said Baldock. "Obviously, we're in a
situation here that we have to win. I have to stay calm and keep everything simple."
The Surrey native trained with the team in 2007 but didn't play, and this season he joined on only after Srdjan Djekanovic and the 'Caps parted ways and third-stringer Richard Goddard couldn't commit. Now, he's starting a semifinal game in his hometown.
"I'm definitely excited, I couldn't really ask for more," he said.
Baldock had no chance on the goal Friday and made a big save off Rocco Placentino.
"We're going to go out and play like Jay Nolly's behind us, because we've got all the faith in Tyler," defender Jeff Clarke said.
© The Vancouver Province 2008