Goat Notes: Kennedy deals with newfound attention
CARSON, Calif. – Chivas USA Dan Kennedy has blossomed into one of the league’s finest goalkeepers and now the humble 29-year-old shot stopper is dealing with a little added attention.
Kennedy was the star in the Rojiblancos' 1-0 victory over Toronto FC making four saves and earning MLS Player of the Week honors.
The Chivas netminder’s stellar performance against Toronto had pundits and supporters singing Kennedy’s praises and even led some to declare him a potential candidate for the US national team. The 'keeper certainly has the numbers to date – he is currently tied for the league lead in saves alongside Sporting KC goalkeeper Kevin Hartman with 23.
While Kennedy may be getting more recognition for his brilliant form, the goalkeeper is not concerned with the plaudits, but rather with doing his job for the Rojiblancos.
WATCH: Kennedy blanks Toronto for clean sheet
“It’s just not my job to get caught up in that business and hearsay,” Kennedy recently told MLSsoccer.com. “I’m just looking forward to our next match and home and doing the work that I do personally and the work that we do as a group to get prepared for the next game. That is what the best part of all – when you play a game and then look forward to the next one.”
Angel getting closer
Juan Pablo Angel is inching back to full health after missing the last five matches and may be ready to play this weekend against the Philadelphia Union.
The 37-year-old forward has battled concussion symptoms since knocking heads with Portland Timbers center back Eric Brunner in the Rojiblancos’ penultimate preseason match, but the Colombian participated in the season opener against the Houston Dynamo before going on the shelf.
After Angel returned to full training last week before the Goats 1-0 victory in Toronto, the veteran striker may make his return on Saturday.
“He’s doing better and is back in training, I expect that he’ll be available pretty soon,” head coach Robin Fraser told MLSsoccer.com. “There is a possibility that he’ll be available [Saturday].”
McKenzie and Pearce partnership
Although Kennedy may be earning the praise at the moment, one of the main reasons for Chivas USA’s solid defensive play has been the successful partnership of center backs Rauwshan McKenzie and Heath Pearce.
With McKenzie providing the brawn to compliment Pearce’s superior speed and positioning, Chivas has surrendered just four goals in six matches, earning the Rojiblancos one of the finest marks this season. Since McKenzie was pressed into service in the season opener after preseason first choice center back John Alexander Valencia went down with an injury, both the burly 25-year-old defender and Pearce have never looked back.
“He and I have formed a good partnership together. The best thing about him for me is that he’s allowed me to be a leader in the back line and he responds and listens well, we work well together,” Pearce told MLSsoccer.com of his cente rback partner. “His game has become predictable for me and hopefully my game is predictable for him. That’s when you know that you’re on the same page and that makes the game a lot easier for everyone. I know when to cover for him; he knows when to cover for me.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.