A healthy No. 1: LA Galaxy's Jaime Penedo says preseason injuries no worry at all
CARSON, Calif. -- Jaime Penedo is training fully again, confident that he will be ready to go when the LA Galaxy open the new season Saturday night against Real Salt Lake at StubHub Center (10:30 pm ET, watch on MLS Live).
A broken pinky finger and an adductor strain, the latter picked up during the Galaxy's brief trek to Mexico City three weeks ago, has slowed him down this preseason, but Penedo played the first half in LA's 2-1 closed-door victory over the weekend against the NASL's Minnesota United and on Monday declared himself all but ready to go.
“I feel good, I feel happy, and I feel very hopeful,” said the Panamanian goalkeeper, who has owned the No. 1 job since joining the club last August. “Unfortunately, I've had some setbacks during the preseason, but I've been getting back and it's a new stage for me. ...
"I'm confident [I can play against RSL] and, more than anything, really hopeful. It's an important game, and, of course, we all want to play.”
Head coach Bruce Arena also was hopeful.
“We'll see,” he said after Monday morning's training session at StubHub. “We have to get through the week, and if [he can't go], we have other options.”
Penedo, 32, made an immediate impact after joining the Galaxy following Panama's run to the CONCACAF Gold Cup final last summer, effectively marshaling LA's leakier-than-normal defense and conceding just seven goals in nine MLS appearances, none in one CONCACAF Champions League outing and two in 210 playoff minutes in the Western Conference semifinal loss to RSL.
He hadn't played in the Galaxy's preseason victories over the San Jose Earthquakes, UCLA and LA's new USL PRO side, so 45 minutes in Saturday's friendly were valuable.
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“It felt good,” Penedo said through a translator. “I think it's two very different things, when you're training as opposed to when you're playing [games], so it was great for me to be able to get some minutes.”
The addition of new goalkeeper coach Matt Reis, fresh off his retirement with the New England Revolution, also has been a plus. Reis has worked at refining Penedo's game.
“It's a lot on the posture and how I stand when I have shots coming my way,” Penedo said. “More than anything, the way I position my feet. A lot of work, of course, on my posture -- those are things you learn when you're young.
"I don't think that [was] the case in Panama, but it's definitely gotten better with the building of goalkeepers there.”