Kenneth Vermeer started Los Angeles Football Club’s first game at the MLS is Back Tournament. Then Pablo Sisniega started the following two matches.
So who will get the nod for Monday’s Round of 16 clash against the Seattle Sounders?
That’s an open question, and according to head coach Bob Bradley, it’s not yet decided, but the group stage was an opportunity for each goalkeeper to get some run.
“When you go through a stretch without games and then you come back and there’s no training matches to prepare, you need to use the matches so far in the tournament to make sure the competition is going in the right direction,” Bradley told reporters on a conference call Saturday. “We’re still discussing who will start against Seattle.
“I mentioned when we made the decision to start Pablo that we certainly brought Kenneth to our club with the idea that he can be an important player for us. I think he’s still getting accustomed to the way we play and developing an understanding with the guys that play in the back. That was part of the decision to give Pablo his opportunity, but we still feel we have two very good goalkeepers and moving forward the competition is important.”
Admittedly, neither goalkeeper has had a truly outstanding performance yet in Orlando, with Vermeer conceding three goals to the Houston Dynamo, and Sisniega conceding two goals in two straight games.
While Bradley mentioned the veteran Vermeer’s acclimation to LAFC and MLS, he also brought up the breakdown in LAFC’s last game, a 2-2 draw against the Portland Timbers, where Sisniega conceded a goal in the opening minutes due to a mistake.
“The goalkeeper’s responsibility is to cover the line behind the defenders. In situations where you’re pushed high, the goalkeeper’s ability to position himself and cover behind is quite important. We certainly saw that on the first goal we gave up against Portland. I don’t think Pablo’s position was as good as it needed to be and we paid the price on that one,” he said.
Bradley admitted the elimination game against the Sounders won’t be easy, and the larger narrative between the teams is on LAFC’s minds.
“We’re starting off with a big, tough test. Our rival, Seattle, everyone knows they finished our season last year. I think we’ve all watched that game many, many times,” he said.
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