The 28-year-old Englishman didn't arrive with much hype or fanfare when the Galaxy brought him in from West Brom, where he never broke through as a regular and came to MLS in search of more playing time. Seven games into his MLS career, Bond has an argument as the league's top backstop thus far, and he was at it again in LA's 1-0 California Clasico victory over the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday. Bond made 12 saves, including a monster double-save in the 82nd minute that preserved a big three-point result.
Given how Bond has trained since his arrival, Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney said he hasn't been surprised at how quickly his goalkeeper has emerged as a match-changing force.
"He's a very hard worker, he's very open minded in terms of learning and the work he's putting in and working with [goalkeeper coach] Kevin [Hartman] on the goalkeeping side and us just in terms of the vision of how we want our goalkeeper to play," Vanney said after Saturday's match. "He's obviously a very talented goalkeeper who didn't get a ton of opportunities over in England, but he had the opportunity here to come in and to earn the No. 1 spot and be the No. 1 guy the team can rely on, and he's been every bit of that. And I think as he has settled in, he's become a leader in the back, he's become a guy who's communicating to everybody in important moments and he's very connected to the group in every aspect.
"It's wonderful to have that because it brings a lot of confidence to the line in front of him. It brings a lot of confidence to the group to know that on the odd occasion when you make a mistake, tonight maybe too many mistakes, but when you make the mistake you have someone back there that can really help you out and he's been fantastic in that way."
For his part, Bond said Saturday's match was partially about his own comfort level in goal, but also about the cohesion of LA's whole defensive unit. For a team that's struggled with its share of well-documented defensive issues in recent seasons, the overall solidity along with Bond's emergence could prove significant should it show to be sustainable.
"It's just one of those things, early in the half I made an early save and then you feel a bit more confident maybe, more comfortable," Bond said. "To be honest, they had quite a few shots from outside the box and then it wasn't until later in the game when they were slipping things in between and getting some crosses in and putting some real pressure on, so it was more the second half. It wasn't just me either, we defended really well as a back unit, the midfielders were stepping out and getting to people on the edge of the box, tracking runners, the center backs were winning headers and the fullbacks were stopping crosses and I felt like those 12 saves, I thought we defended quite well."
As for his impressions of his first foray into MLS, Bond said it's all positives in terms of how he's adjusting to the league and his new surroundings.
"It's been what I hoped it would be from my perspective, for sure," he said. "It's been nice that every game, it's like a big spectacle, every game is on TV and there's a lot of fans, as many as we can get in the stadium, the gamedays feel special and they feel like a big event. So, that's been nice, the teams we've played against have been good quality and the league's been exciting, so from both perspectives I've been happy."