Now that the 2013 season is over, LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano will look back on the season for every player who was on the club’s roster at some point during the season.
The LA Galaxy Insider Year in Review will begin with players who made the least number of appearances for the club in all official competitions over the course of the year, starting with Brian Perk and Bryan Gaul, who did not make any appearances for the first team this year, and concluding with midfielder Marcelo Sarvas who played in a team-best 42 games for LA this year. There will also be an evaluation of head coach and general manager Bruce Arena and his moves at the conclusion of the list.
We will have one or two evaluations per day and focus on what each player did well and what challenges they faced in 2013 as well as a select thought from the player on their performance and an overall assessment of their season from myself.
APPEARANCES IN ALL OFFICIAL COMPETITIONS FOR THE GALAXY: GP: 12 (Nine in MLS Regular Season, two in MLS Cup Playoffs, one in CONCACAF Champions League); Record: 5-2-4; GAA: 0.75; SV: ; SO: 5
APPEARANCES IN GUINNESS INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONS CUP: GP: 1; GAA: 0.00
HIGHLIGHTS: Signed on Aug. 5, Jaime Penedo wasted no time in becoming a force in net for the LA Galaxy. After making his first MLS start on August 17, Penedo never relinquished the starting job as he started 11 matches in MLS play for the Galaxy, only missing time twice due to international commitments. What gave Penedo the edge was his ability to come off his line and handle imposing crosses as well as his knack for making big saves that kept the Galaxy competitive multiple times. Penedo’s success paid major dividends as he amassed six shutouts in all competitions and a 7-3-4 record. His debut season with LA will be best remembered by his spectacular diving stop during LA’s 1-0 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Aug. 24. In the 82nd minute, with LA holding onto a one-goal lead, Penedo denied a close range Jordan Harvey shot with a phenomenal stop that helped preserve three points for the Galaxy and was voted the MLS Save of the Week.
CHALLENGES: Penedo’s ability to come off his line led to many stellar saves, but the Panamanian’s eagerness also caused him to be caught out of position, which resulted in several goals. The most glaring example came during LA’s 1-1 draw to Seattle Sounders FC in October when he was unable to handle a cross that resulted in Clint Dempsey’s first half strike. Although it didn’t happen in a Galaxy kit, Penedo’s lowest moments of the year came courtesy of a pair of crushing defeats with the Panamanian national team. Penedo backstopped Los Canaleros to the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup Final, but they fell short to the United States, losing 1-0. The U.S. also played the spoiler in October when they roared back from a 2-1 deficit by beating Penedo twice in second half stoppage time to earn a 3-2 victory and end Panama’s dreams of going to Brazil.
HIS THOUGHTS: “The entire experience was very gratifying. I feel like there are definitely things that I can still improve upon and there are avenues to do this at this club. I’m a bit sad that we weren’t able to go farther because I feel like we had a team that could do well, but I feel like we have a solid foundation at this club. It’d be strange to say that it wasn’t a good year because in all honesty it was a good year. I’m very appreciative of what happened this season. We made it to a Gold Cup Final, but we didn’t win, we made to within three minutes of going to a playoff for the World Cup and I’m left here three games away from making an MLS Cup. As we know, football is about results, so while I wouldn’t say this was a bad year what was clearly lacking was the results.
OVERVIEW: Jaime Penedo will enter the 2014 season as the LA Galaxy’s incumbent in net following his strong showing down the stretch. As he heads into his first full season in MLS, Penedo will undoubtedly be tested, but the Panamanian goalkeeper has built a strong foundation heading into 2014. For Penedo, the lone hurdle will be his acclimation process to MLS and the United States. Communication with his teammates was always going to be a challenge, but the goalkeeper has already pledged to learn English, which will only make things easier for him going forward. Although the Galaxy will need to address multiple holes heading into next year, goalkeeper will not be one of them as Penedo is a source of stability in the starting XI.
POLL: How would you rate Jaime Penedo’s 2013?
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com