CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo likes to replay sequences in his head, particularly those leading to goals. And he had a doozy to think about from last Saturday’s match against Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place.
LA were clinging to a 1-0 lead close to the midway point of the second half when Vancouver’s Steven Beitashour lofted a long pass deep into the Galaxy’s end of the field. The ball skipped past Erik Hurtado, and Galaxy defender Leonardo went back to retrieve it, but not before appearing to hesitate for a split second. Penedo also had come out of the goal to defend on the play.
Vancouver’s Darren Mattocks, however, raced in, bumped Leonardo and the two Galaxy players collided and Mattocks proceeded to score from a sharp angle to level the score. The game eventually finished in a 2-2 draw, thanks to a goal in the 86th minute by Vancouver’s Kekuta Manneh.
“I’ve seen the play three or four times,” Leonardo said. “Those types of plays just happen during games.
“I really don’t know what happened. “
Penedo seemed to think the Whitecaps were the recipients of some rather good fortune.
“I’ve seen the play a lot,” Penedo said with a grin. “I like to think about every situation that happens in a game, especially ones that lead to a goal. I spoke to (goalkeeper coach) Matt (Reis) and Leo. We had the game under control by that point in the game.
“I feel like the forward (Mattocks) had luck on that play, although I’m the kind of person who doesn’t believe in luck. We just need to work harder and be able to avoid plays like that.”
It was a particularly unfortunate turn of events for the 26-year-old Leonardo who, according to Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, had played well to that point not only in that game but for much of the season.
He had played in five games, with four starts, and appeared to be all the way back from a potentially career-ending knee injury he suffered in the opening game of the 2011 season.
“Leo has played well,” Arena said of the 26-year-old defender, with whom he spoke about the play at the conclusion of Saturday’s game. “Leo was involved in a lot of plays in that game where he was actually excellent. However, he did make a crucial error.
“You learn from it and you move on.”
Arena said he had no concerns about Leonardo’s ability to recover from such an unfortunate sequence.
“He’ll be fine,” Arena said. “He’s been around here long enough. He’ll be fine.”
Added Penedo, “We are professionals and we have to come back. And Leo will.”
Leonardo said he’s already done that. He admitted it was easier for him to recover from that mistake than it was from the Galaxy’s CONCACAF Champions League rematch with Club Tijuana, which scored three goals in the first 26 minutes and went on to eliminate the Galaxy from the competition.
“That game was harder for me,” Leonardo said. “After this one I was OK after about two days or so. You just come back.”