Kempin can’t save Galaxy in loss

Goalie is tested by Toronto and plays bet­ter than the score sug­gests in de­feat.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Kevin Bax­ter kevin.bax­ter@la­times.com

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 sea­son­high 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 Jozy Alti­dore, 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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