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LAFC’s No. 1 goalkeeper? Still to be determined

Sisniega talks competition, offseason prep.

Courtesy of LAFC

One of the enduring storylines of the 2020 season for LAFC was the starting goalkeeper. Kenneth Vermeer started as the No. 1, then he and Pablo Sisniega traded off the starter’s duties for a bit, then Sisniega finished the regular season and playoffs as the starter, before Vermeer came back in to backstop LAFC’s run to the Concacaf Champions League final.

Splitting time has been customary for Sisniega since joining LAFC, since he also alternated stints as starter and backup with Tyler Miller in 2019.

And while LAFC have emphasized the need for competition in the squad, especially of late, in no position has that been more public than the alternating goalkeepers.

But Sisniega made it clear he and Vermeer have a good dynamic and the competition between them only pushes them on.

“I mean competition definitely helps because it makes you be at your best at all times and it keeps you just kind of honest and keeps you pushing yourself,” Sisniega told Angels on Parade earlier in the week. “And I think Kenneth and I both have a great relationship with each other, I mean we really support each other on and off the field, so I think that helps a lot. And obviously, we both want to play as much as possible, we both want to be No. 1 so it’s always fun to compete but obviously I want to be on the field as much as possible.”

In Saturday’s 2-2 preseason draw between LAFC and the New England Revolution at Banc of California Stadium, Sisniega started and played 75 minutes before making way for Vermeer.

Does that give a glimpse on Bob Bradley’s plan for starting goalkeeper to start the 2021 season? He sounds like he’s keeping the competition open.

“We’ll need to see as we get into the season, we don’t have a definite answer at this point,” said Bradley to reporters after the game. “As I mentioned with today being the first game, we need to see how they respond when we get into games and to see who seems ready to take a step.”

Sisniega said he’s been hard at work in the offseason to get better, spending time with his family before hitting the weight room.

“For me personally, I had a good offseason. I worked a lot when I was in Philadelphia then I came here, and I’ve been working a lot also in the strength side and in the conditioning and all that so I feel very good. So I think it’s gonna be a good season for LAFC,” he said.

We’ll see if Sisniega or Vermeer grab that No. 1 spot this year, or if they will continue in a timeshare.

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