Journey to Excellence: Hector Jimenez
The LA Galaxy season may be over, but LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano will spend the next few weeks offering an evaluation of each member of the squad. VIEW CALENDAR
The LA Galaxy Player Ratings will begin with players who appeared in the least number of games this season starting with goalkeeper Brian Rowe and concluding with Sean Franklin who played in all 34 of the club’s regular season games. 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 two to three evaluations per day and focus on what each player did well, what they need to improve on ahead of next season as well as a select thought from the player on their performance and a rating from myself out of four stars.
APPEARANCES IN ALL OFFICIAL COMPETITIONS: GP: 21 [4 in CONCACAF Champions League, 1 in MLS Cup Playoffs, 1 in U.S. Open Cup], MIN: 1312, G: 1, A: 2
RESERVE LEAGUE APPEARANCES: GP: 7, MIN: 528, G: 0, A: 0
HIGHLIGHTS: Hector Jimenez made a quantum leap in his second season as a professional going from two MLS appearances in 2011 to a total of 21 in all competitions a year later. The 24-year-old’s pace and poise in the attack caused considerable trouble for LA’s foes whenever he stepped on the field. With more time on the field, Jimenez bagged his first career MLS goal in the third minute of LA’s 3-2 defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes on May 23. (watch at right) A month later, he’d record his first career assist in yet another LA defeat to San Jose. Jimenez also displayed some versatility as he made a pair of appearances at right back. This added a new dimension to the offense as Jimenez’s defensive abilities allowed for greater overlap with right back Sean Franklin, who was then able to contribute more to the attack. With all these factors in mind, it was no surprise that Jimenez was tipped to start on the right side of midfield in LA’s Knockout Round match against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Nov. 1 in place of the injured Christian Wilhelmsson, though he would eventually get the start at right back in place of the injured Sean Franklin.
LOWLIGHTS: After scoring his first professional goal in May, Jimenez was sent off in the 59th minute for a challenge on San Jose’s Steven Beitashour. Days later, the MLS Disciplinary Committee added a game and an undisclosed fine to his suspension. The ability to start in the playoff match against Vancouver was quite an honor for the young Jimenez, but he endured a challenging 56 minutes of action at right back. Jimenez was targeted early as the Whitecaps took an early lead before LA roared back to a 2-1 victory to advance to the Western Conference Semifinals.
HIS THOUGHTS: “I definitely did better than my first year, I felt like I contributed a bit more after not playing much last year so it’s a bit more special. This year, I did a good contribution in those games that I did take part. I think that when we were struggling, that’s when I got my minutes and I think that I provided energy that helped the start our streak in mid-July. I felt like I did alright and hopefully that carries over to next year.”
RATING: TWO AND A HALF STARS
Hector Jimenez was one of the breakout stars for the Galaxy during their 2012 season. Due to his balance of speed, skill and industry, Jimenez is expected to be in the mix for plenty of minutes in LA’s heavy 2013 schedule. With Wilhelmsson departing the club and Colin Clark’s status still in question, Jimenez is the only pure winger currently on the Galaxy roster. As he continues his maturation process, expect to see much more from the University of California product over the next year.
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com