Galaxy goalkeeper Jon Kempin insists he’s not looking ahead to next season. Not with six games still to play in this one.
But he does admit how he finishes this year will go a long way toward determining how and where he starts the next one.
“Even at the beginning of the year you’re always playing for next year,” he said last week. “Sports are not a safe job.”
Kempin’s future may have become a bit more secure Saturday, because while he gave up a season-high four goals in a 4-0 loss to Toronto FC, he was also spectacular at times in what amounted to a solo defensive effort against the league’s highest-scoring team.
TFC (18-3-8) was without leading scorers Sebastian Giovinco and , who were left home with nagging injuries. But the Galaxy (7-15-6) seemed eager to even things up by forcing Kempin to play with little help and Toronto took full advantage, overwhelming them with 13 shots, seven on target.
So while the result was bad, it should have been worse.
On Toronto’s first goal, scored by Drew Moor on a diving header off the rebound of a Victor Vazquez free kick in the 24th minute, Kempin’s teammates were caught napping. On the second, 13 minutes later, Tosaint Ricketts welcomed new Galaxy center back Michael Ciani to the league by reaching around him to push a Nicolas Hasler feed past Kempin.
Ricketts, making his 10th career start, eluded Ciani again in the 76th minute for his second score of the night and a minute later Vazquez made it 4-0, getting behind the stationary Galaxy defense to turn a long goal kick into his seventh goal of the season.
On the other end Gyasi Zardes and Giovani dos Santos both mis-hit shots at an open net as the Galaxy were shut out for the 10th time this season and the sixth time in their last 10 games.
Saturday’s start was Kempin’s sixth of the season and his fifth in as many games. Two of those have ended in shutouts and Kempin’s 25 saves — including two stellar ones Saturday — are more than double his career total entering the season.
That’s heady stuff for a keeper who made just six starts and played fewer than 600 minutes in seven seasons in Kansas City.
“I . . . never really got that chance, that run of games to kind of show what you can do for an extended period,” said Kempin, 24. “I’m the goalkeeper that I’ve always been. I just never really had the chance to show it.”
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