CARSON, Calif. – Jaime Penedo is back with the LA Galaxy after helping Panama finish third in the Copa CentroAmericana, but before he shifts his focus back to MLS duty, he has strong words for his international teammates.
“We have to be stronger.”
Penedo returned to the fold with the Galaxy on Wednesday after Panama’s third place showing at the Copa CentroAmericana that saw Los Canaleros qualify for the 2015 Gold Cup. During the two week-long campaign, Penedo conceded just two goals as Panama went 2-0-1 en route to being awarded the Golden Glove for the tournament’s best goalkeeper.
“I’m happy with the performance because we had a very good group. We have a lot of young players as well as some with experience. We have to remember that this tournament is preparation for the qualification for the 2018 World Cup in Russia,” Penedo told LA Galaxy Insider on Wednesday.
“We have to be realistic though because the [true] final was the 2-2 draw with Costa Rica," he added. "We were up two goals and when we didn’t win that game, we basically lost our chance to qualify for [Copa America 2016].”
That performance against Costa Rica brought back plenty of bad memories to Panama’s disastrous collapse during 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying. After talking at length about a renewed sense of focus following their World Cup qualifying collapse, Penedo admits that his international teammates need to put their words to practice.
“We can talk about having more concentration in these moments, but at the end of the day, that’s just talk,” said Penedo. “We have to actually get through the moments and through those situations to actually move beyond [our losses]. We have to be stronger in those moments and win in those moments whenever they come. That’s the only solution for Panama. ”
Now Penedo rejoins a Galaxy side that is hardly looking for answers in the same manner as the Panamanians.
In the three matches that Penedo was away, the Galaxy amassed a 1-0-2 record with backup goalkeeper Brian Rowe in the net. During his run of games, Rowe conceded just three goals as LA moved to within three points of Supporters’ Shield leading Seattle Sounders FC in the standings.
Penedo is expected to be back between the pipes when the Galaxy take on FC Dallas on Saturday and the Panamanian goalkeeper is chomping at the bit to don an LA kit again.
“I’m happy to be back,” said Penedo. “I’m going to work very hard and go into the position that the coach puts me in. Our team is doing very well and we have a chance to do some very big things.”