COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Kenney Walker played his final game in an LA Galaxy uniform for the foreseeable future in Sunday’s Reserve League match against the Colorado Rapids, but the midfielder was determined not to go out with a defeat.
Walker started and played the full 90 minutes in the center of midfield, helping LA claim a 1-0 win over the Colorado Rapids reserves. Not only was the midfielder tidy in the center of the park, but he also provided an assist on Chandler Hoffman’s first half goal, which was the difference between the two sides on the day. The match is Walker’s last with LA as he—and second-year defender Bryan Gaul, who did not feature on Sunday—were sent on loan to NASL side Ft. Lauderdale Strikers for the remainder of the season.
After serving as a vital holding presence for LA in their third consecutive MLS Reserve League victory, Walker admitted that the match was the ‘best performance top to bottom” for the reserves this season—and an important exclamation point as he heads to South Florida.
“I just wanted to come out and help these guys win so we could be first in the reserve league. I just like playing whether it is here or in Ft. Lauderdale,” Walker told LAGalaxy.com on Sunday. “[Once in Ft. Lauderdale], I just want to play, get more experience, and match fitness so I can, hopefully, come back in to help [the Galaxy] for a few matches whether they be in the Reserve League or the CONCACAF Champions League.”
Immediately after the match while his teammates headed back to Southern California, Walker jumped on a flight heading to Ft. Lauderdale to join up with his new club. The Strikers begin the NASL’s Fall 2013 season on Aug. 3 against the New York Cosmos.
Both Walker and Gaul are expected to contend for minutes immediately with the Strikers after their last place finish in the Spring 2013 season. As Walker looks ahead to his loan with Ft. Lauderdale, he has just one goal in mind: earn minutes and play his way into the Galaxy first team.
“Everyone wants to play here. This is the top club in the country in my eyes,” said Walker, who has made just one first team appearance for the Galaxy in 2013, playing 90 minutes in the U.S. Open Cup defeat to Carolina, after dealing with foot surgery in preseason. “It’s going to be good to get minutes and experience, then if I do get inserted back into the Galaxy any time down the line, it’ll be a good chance to show myself.”
Curt Onalfo, Walker’s head coach with the reserves, was pleased that his midfielder possesses such an attitude.
“He’s a winner all the way through. You’ll never find me saying a negative thing about him,” Onalfo told LAGalaxy.com. “He’s an excellent player and a good pro who is only getting better. As long as you have the right attitude, what more can you ask for. “
As for what the LA assistant believes that Walker needs in order to achieve success in Ft. Lauderdale and, subsequently, improve his standing with the Galaxy—just games and minutes.
“He just needs games,” said Onalfo. “He’s gotten himself very fit and now he’ll be able to step in and do well in Ft. Lauderdale to progress in his career. Hopefully that improves his standing amongst our team.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com