ORLANDO, Fla. –Orlando City goalkeeper Adam Grinwis has been training for his clutch U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals performance since he put on his gloves for the first time. He recalled that when he was a kid, he would practice this exact same situation with his friends in the backyard — putting his team on his back, game on the line, fending off penalty kicks.
The practice paid off when he stopped two penalty kicks against New York City FC during a thrilling Wednesday night victory, sending the Lions to the Open Cup semifinals for the first time in franchise history.
Still, the spotlight wasn’t exactly the most comfortable place for the keeper.
“I think as a goalkeeper sometimes, you don’t want to be noticed,” Grinwis said. “If I’m not noticed, that means the team had a good game. That means I didn’t have to do much and that’s a good thing.”
After saving the very first penalty kick of the series, Grinwis came up with a diving, one-handed swat that sealed the win.
The highlight moment was an apt reflection of Grinwis’ consistent presence in the net for the Lions throughout the Open Cup, making 12 saves during the course of the first three games of the tournament. Although the keeper hasn’t notched a clean sheet, his teammates said he has become a steadying force on the backline for the team.
“I know for Adam, he’s a guy who works every single day,” forward Chris Mueller said. “One of the hardest [working] guys in and out. He deserves moments like this and I think that for him, it’s just a tribute to his character and how genuine he is of a guy. To step up in those moments and finally take a hold of an opportunity, it’s amazing and I’m really happy for him.”
As the backup keeper behind starter Brian Rowe, this season hasn’t been as active for Grinwis. Yet although he has not seen the field during an MLS regular season game, the keeper has stayed prepared for his role as the Lions’ Open Cup starter.
In the moments after the game, with his team dog-piled on top of him, Grinwis said it felt as though the wait was worth it.
“I’m still trying to, like, figure out where I am and what’s going on,” Grinwis said during a postgame press conference. “It was over, I made the save, I looked up and everybody was running, and I was like, ‘Wow, this is it.’ I think it took me a good five seconds to really realize like, alright I made the save, and we just won. It was a dream come true.”