Photo by David Bernal/ISIPhotos.com
By JONATHAN VERA
When the 2011 MLS season began, veteran Zach Thornton had a hold on the starting goalkeeper job with Chivas USA. After some early struggles by Thornton, Dan Kennedy has taken over the starting role.
“We didn’t see [Kennedy] that much in preseason because he was hurt,” said head coach Robin Fraser. “So we got a lot of looks at Zach.”
In the two league games Thornton started, he faced combined total of six shots on target from Kansas City and Colorado. Of those shots, four found the net. During the Rojiblancos' match against Colorado, Chivas USA fans got rowdy and adamantly called for the benching of Thornton.
Kennedy, who played against Portland in the U.S. Open Cup, was called upon and started a pair of league games, facing seven shots on goal from Toronto and Columbus (one more SOG faced than Thornton). In those games, Kennedy allowed just one goal against Toronto FC, and secured a shutout against the Crew at home.
“Getting an opportunity to see [Kennedy] play in the Open Cup game was a good opportunity, and I thought he exhibited a good amount of confidence and leadership,” Fraser said. “He was quick to get off the line, so since then he’s had a run of games.”
Kennedy is thrilled to hold the No. 1 spot, and rightfully so. But the keeper understands full well that this, like any other position, is something you have to fight for.
“I want to be on the team every week. That’s why I’m here. That’s why I’m playing," Kennedy said. "That’s why I’m continuing to pursue this career because I want to be on the field, I want contribute on the field."
As of right now, it looks like we’re going to be seeing a lot more of Kennedy guarding the Chivas USA net.
“He’s been pretty good," Fraser said. "Would I say he’s the No. 1? I guess answer would be, at the moment, yes.”
Who do you think should be Chivas' No. 1 goalkeeper, Thornton or Kennedy? Which keeper gives the team a better chance to win?
Share your thoughts below.