Goalkeeper Steve Cronin
thought his season had ended when Vancouver eliminated his Portland from the USL-1 playoffs on Oct. 4. But D.C. United had other ideas. United, exercising the
league's "extreme hardship" exemption to shuffle its roster late in the season, called on Cronin to replace injured starter Josh Wicks
. Cronin joined the team last
Monday on loan from Portland. Last Saturday, Cronin started against the Columbus Crew based on his training performance.
He delivered a calm performance in one of the team's most
pressured games of the year. "It's always difficult coming into a new environment," United coach Tom Soehn
said after the 1-0 'win over the Crew. "Early in the week
I recall him asking, 'who's he' and 'who's he'. And you wouldn't have guessed that today because he really solidified things (and) made great decisions. He looks like
he's been with us all year."
Cronin, who started 22 up-and-down games with the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2008, showed stellar form all season in 2009 with the Timbers. He earned
Goalkeeper of the Year honors after posting a 0.68 GAA and collecting 10 shutouts as part of a back line that tied for the fewest goals allowed in USL-1 this season. "He had a great year,"
United goalkeepers coach Mark Simpson
told The Washington Post last week. "We followed him and, when we were allowed to sign someone for Josh, we took advantage of it. He was
really our best option (among available goalkeepers)." So far, Cronin has transferred his USL form to MLS for a team in the thick of a playoff hunt.
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