BAYAMÓN, Puerto Rico – A poor final touch may have prevented the LA Galaxy from taking three points against the Puerto Rico Islanders on Wednesday, but goalkeeper Brian Perk did not let LA leave “the island of enchantment” empty handed.
Facing a Puerto Rico side on the brink of elimination with nothing to lose, Perk repeatedly held his ground and turned away the Islanders as he finished the night with seven saves. Perk, however, saved his finest stops for crunch time as he made a pair of saves in the last 10 minutes of the match to preserve the draw for LA.
“I think he did very well,” said head coach Bruce Arena. “He had to make a couple of saves that looked comfortable. His distribution was very good. His kicking game was good. His organization of the backline was very good. I’ve been very impressed with him over the last couple of months. He’s looked a lot more experienced as a goalkeeper. I think he was quite good tonight.”
The goalkeeper’s performance was the highlight of an arduous evening for the Galaxy offense as LA’s finishing touch was lacking across the field, despite numerous scoring opportunities. Both teams had their opportunities however—as the stat sheet reflected a 15-14 shot advantage for the Islanders—as Perk and the Galaxy back four were put under pressure by the constant pressure from Puerto Rico.
The Islanders weren’t the Galaxy’s only opponent on Wednesday as LA endured humid weather conditions and a spongy field weathered by recent rains in Bayamón. Although the NASL club was demolished 4-0 during a defeat at The Home Depot Center, the Islanders were very much a different team on Wednesday evening.
Perk noticed the difference.
“It seemed like from the first whistle, they had a little more pep in their step,” said Perk, who now has two shutouts in his Champions League career. “They came out and they took it to us at moments, we had our chances, and they had their chances so a 0-0 is a pretty fair result.”
As he looks forward to his next first team appearance—possibly in the Galaxy’s final group stage match against Isidro Metapán on October 25th in El Salvador—the young goalkeeper believes that his performance in Puerto Rico should provide a boost for his confidence.
“It’s something that you can carry over to the next game, whenever it is that I play,” he said. “But it reaffirms what you already know, so it’s always good. Sure, it’s a confidence booster, but there are more games and this is just one.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@gmail.com