Rafael Diaz was called up to the Dominican Republic roster for friendlies this month against Puerto Rico and Serbia, and the Sacramento Republic goalkeeper earned his first cap at international level on Monday.
Diaz started and went the full 90 in goal for Dominican Republic in a 0-0 draw against Serbia in Santo Domingo. The result was impressive, considering D.R.’s loss to Puerto Rico a few days earlier and the fact that Serbia was ranked No. 30 and Dominican Republic No. 159 by FIFA.
Nuestro portero Rafael Díaz @Rafi_Dee fue alegido como el jugador del partido tras el empate 0-0 de la @sedofutbol ante @FSSrbije Serbia y por su grandiosa actuación y debut en la @sedofutbol @SacRepublicFC pic.twitter.com/eMYMrS3E10— Futbol Dominicano ® (@Futbol2Minicano) January 26, 2021
For his multi-save clean sheet performance on his debut, Diaz earned Man of the Match honors. The result was lauded in the Dominican Republic because they had never managed a result against a top 30 nation before.
“I’m very happy and proud to be able to represent the country I was born in and happy to be able to help the team to get a good result against a very strong Serbia team,” said Diaz after the game in remarks shared by Sac Republic.
It’s a great accomplishment for Diaz, and his debut offers a shot for the player to get more playing time on the international stage. World Cup qualifying begins for the Dominican Republic in March, and with Sac Republic not scheduled to begin their season until sometime around March, getting the international call-up and time with his country won’t be the worst thing in the world for the player. But in the moment, congrats to Rafa and hope it’s just the beginning.
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