LA Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann has impressed in two games with the club. But is his confidence rising fast enough to be considered the Galaxy’s no. 1?
Jonathan Klinsmann grew up in Southern California as a fan of the LA Galaxy, saw his share of games at Dignity Health Sports Park, and often marveled at the players he saw wearing the club jersey.
The 23-year-old goalkeeper, the son of former German standout Jurgen Klinsmann, now is proudly wearing the team’s colors himself and appears to have wrestled the starting position away from veteran David Bingham. Klinsmann, however, doesn’t want to think too far ahead in that regard; instead, he’ll savor games like Sunday’s contest against the visiting Vancouver Whitecaps in which he recorded four saves and earned his first shutout in the Galaxy’s 1-0 victory.
“It’s pretty surreal,” he told reporters, “and to be able to start and now get my first win and a shutout and everything is a pretty amazing feeling.”
Klinsmann actually got his first start with the Galaxy last Wednesday, when he made seven saves in an otherwise forgettable 4-0 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes. He was back in the net on Sunday and looked cool, calm and collected in helping the five-time MLS Cup champions snap a six-game losing streak.
He said the difference between how he felt last week and Sunday was night and day.
“Definitely some nerves,” he said of the match against San Jose. “For sure. Definitely the first 45 minutes it’s a little bit hazy in my memory. Again at halftime you realize you’re here for a reason, you calm yourself down a little bit. The second half nerves-wise I was fine.
“Obviously now the second game you feel so much more confident. Obviously I came here almost weekly and watched a bunch of games throughout 18, 19 years here. The amount of players I’ve seen wear the jersey … it’s just an honor to be able to wear it myself.”
Klinsmann had a laugh when he recalled how Galaxy head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto informed him last week he would make his first start.
“He came up to me and simply asked me, ‘Are you ready?’ And I said, ‘Of course,’ ” Klinsmann said. “That was pretty much the extent of the conversation. And then the next day we trained with the guys that were going to play the next day, and that was that.
“It gives you a lot of confidence when a coach comes up to you and says, ‘Hey, we have confidence in you. Are you ready?’ Of course.”
Klinsmann wanted to point out the Galaxy defense wasn’t as bad as it appeared lately. The Galaxy had been outscored 19-5 during their six-game slide that saw them free-fall to the bottom of the Western Conference standings.
“Obviously today you saw what we can do,” he said. “I was very confident in the defense already through training. You see them, and unfortunately it didn’t translate onto the field until today.
“Today we really hit it off. We were fighting for every ball, and I think the guys realized, ‘Hey, we had a losing streak but before that we also had a winning streak. We’re a damn good team and we can do this.’ ”
It remains to be seen if Schelotto will stick with Klinsmann in the net, but the youngster certainly has proved he should at least be considered for the No. 1 role.
“Right now we haven’t had that conversation,” Klinsmann said. “Right now I play this game, then we have to work for the next game. If I play, I play. If I don’t, I don’t.
“I’m obviously here to play … I want to play. I think everyone knows that. It’s just working toward the next game, and hopefully I play. And if I play I’ll give it everything I have.”