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The following is a Jonathan Bond love letter.
If that’s not really your thing, reader, well bye, Salinas.
Jonathan Bond is the best goalkeeper in Major League Soccer.
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? @Bondy506 ?
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) May 31, 2021
If we lived in a world in which goalies earned such honors, he’d be an early dark horse for MLS MVP too.
You can @ me, come at me, and disagree, but it doesn’t make it any less true.
The above statements aren’t hyperbole or exaggerations either; the performances support it.
Bond’s 12 saves and dominant form in the Galaxy’s 1-0 victory in the California Clasico over their northern neighbors San Jose Earthquakes earned him MLS’s Team and Player of the Week honors, not to mention hero status among G’s for his part in beating the Galaxy’s oldest rival.
— Adam Serrano (@AdamSerrano) May 30, 2021
Simply put, the man had no business stopping some of the shots he did in the Cali Clasico.
His 12 saves during the Galaxy’s shutout victory is the second-highest single-game tally in club history and marks the most saves in any club win or shut out by a Galaxy keeper.
The name is Bond… Jonathan Bond.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) May 30, 2021
Easily the man-of-the-match, Bond hasn’t allowed a goal at Dignity Health Sports Park in 208 minutes, recorded his second straight shutout at home, and has a league-leading 40 saves while averaging six a game.
“We want this to be a place when people come here; they’ve sort of lost,” Galaxy Head Coach Greg Vanney shared, whose team remains undefeated through four games at home. “We want this to be our fortress. And we want teams to feel like it’s going to be really, really difficult to get points anytime they get on a plane to come to play the Galaxy.”
The man-of-the-match backed up the sentiment in a virtual post-game press conference and stressed the importance of making Galaxy home games uncomfortable affairs for opponents.
“You can’t really achieve anything if you’re not strong at home and people don’t look forward to coming to play you,” Bond observed.
If the Digz is to become the fortress that Vanney wants it to be, Bond’s continued inspired performances will be key.
In the 81st minute and the Galaxy soaking up tons of pressure as the Quakes tried to tie the game, Bond pulled off an audacious double save that preserved L.A.’s victory, put even more desperation into Earthquakes hearts.
He earned Galaxy fans a timeless GIF of Quakes Head Coach Matias Almeyda and San Jose’s coaching staff clutching at hair in disbelief at some of Bond’s stops.
The name's Bond. Jonathan Bond. pic.twitter.com/Wx7JO3CVCq
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) May 30, 2021
This one play highlighted how much Los Angeles has missed having an imposing goalkeeper, how goalkeeping can win matches, and Bond’s importance to the club.
And it’s easy to point to the saves alone, but one of Bond’s chief strengths is the confidence he exudes.
Like many things that differ from last year, the Galaxy doesn’t win Saturday’s game without his steady presence in goal and even when San Jose threatened late, that Bond was there allowed his teammates and fanbase the poise not to give in to panic.
In Bond, the Galaxy looks to have finally found their heir apparent to Galaxy legend Jaime Penedo, who left with G’s giving him the honorific “San” or saint for his displays guarding the Los Angeles goal.
If Bond can continue his recent form, Galaxy fans are sure to add another “San” to the rich goalkeeping history in Los Angeles.
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