Zagar\'s stock rising

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:51 AM ET

Holger Osieck will keep a close eye on Toronto Lynx goaltender Theo Zagar this season.

If Zagar continues to make the strides he has been taking since graduating from the obscure Canadian university ranks in 1998, the East York native might convince the national soccer coach to give him a shot at the international level.

Coming off his 24th career A-League shutout in Toronto\'s season-opening 2-0 win over the Pittsburgh Riverhounds last Saturday, Zagar, 28, will return to action today (4 p.m.) for the Lynx\'s home opener against the Montreal Impact at Etobicoke Centennial Stadium.

\"If (Zagar is) performing well, I definitely may consider him,\" Osieck said. \"I\'ve known him the past couple of years ... and he\'s a solid goalkeeper.\"

After dropping out of the provincial program following his under-15 season because \"a lot of crap was going on and (Zagar) didn\'t think (he) could handle it,\" the goalkeeper took the road less travelled.

CIS PLAYERS

He was CIS player of the year in his final season with the University of Toronto Varsity Blues (1998) and then earned a spot as a backup with the Lynx in an open tryout.

Two seasons later, Zagar was promoted to starter and led the Lynx to the A-League semi-finals. Last season, he was named team captain when defender Marco Reda took off for Norway in mid-season and earned team MVP honours.

\"I think (Zagar) is the best goalie in the league,\" Lynx general manager/coach Peter Pinizzotto said.\"I\'m surprised he\'s not with the national team or even in Europe.\"

For now, Zagar is focused on the task at hand.

\"I don\'t think I should get punished for playing in my country rather than overseas,\" Zagar said.

\"If I get a chance, I\'m willing to play for my country. I\'m going to keep playing for the Toronto Lynx, do my best and who knows what happens.\"


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