CARSON, Calif. – Bruce Arena downplayed published speculation that Jaime Penedo could return next season to the LA Galaxy, who are expected to look for a new starting goalkeeper after Donovan Ricketts' struggles during his three-month stint with the club.
Penedo, LA's No. 1 goalkeeper from August 2013 through his departure in late July, has expressed regret with leaving the Galaxy following the CONCACAF Gold Cup because he wasn't happy with the length of his contract.
The Panamanian national-teamer was under contact through the conclusion of this season, but LA placed him on waivers when he asked out of the pact that he said, in an Instagram post, “doesn't meet all the conditions that can give me stability, for my family and as a soccer player.”
The Los Angeles Times reported last week that Arena and Eddie Rock, Penedo's agent, said they were open to reestablishing a relationship, but Arena on Wednesday was noncommittal.
“We haven't spoken to [Penedo],” Arena said in a sit down with a few reporters at StubHub Center.
Asked if he would be interested in bringing Penedo back, Arena responded: “It's not anything that I've thought about at this moment.”
Some within the club are against bringing back a player who it appeared abandoned the Galaxy, but Arena said no bridges were burned when Penedo asked for his release.
“[He's a] wonderful guy. I mean, he really is,” Arena said. “You don't find too many guys like Jaime. Real quality.”
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Penedo, 34, who joined the Galaxy after a superb performance in leading Panama to the 2013 Gold Cup title game, started 54 MLS regular-season matches for LA, with 17 shutouts and a 1.09 goals-against average. He played in 66 competitive matches for the team, posting 23 shutouts and a 1.04 GAA.
“Jaime is, first of all, just a good person, one of the nicest guys I've ever met,” defender A.J. DeLaGarza said after Penedo's departure. “He had to make a decision for himself and his family, and you can't fault someone for looking out for their family.”
Ricketts, 38, who also played for the Galaxy from 2009 through 2011, had one shutout and a 1.75 goals-against average in 12 league appearances. He had at least partial responsibility on Seattle's first two goals in last week's 3-2 Knockout Round loss to the Sounders in the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the Galaxy will decline their option on Ricketts, and Arena on Wednesday acknowledged that the club was “definitely looking at goalkeepers.”
“We're looking at every position,” he added.