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LA Galaxy 2021 Player Postmortem: Jonathan Bond

Looks like LA have found their No. 1.

MLS: FC Dallas at LA Galaxy Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Jonathan Bond was a pretty big unknown for the LA Galaxy when he signed ahead of the 2021 season. The English goalkeeper, who holds a U.S. passport with an American parent, didn’t take up an international slot, as the Galaxy hoped to maximize their imports by signing dual citizens and the like.

Bond was an unknown quantity because unless you go deep down the EFL levels to watch regularly, he hadn’t played much on a big stage. Turning pro with Watford when they were in the English Championship, he had stints with yo-yo sides Reading and West Brom United with a slew of loan spells down the divisions in between. His most regular stretch of play was a season with Peterborough United — a team on the rise in recent years, but we don’t see too many Posh games stateside.

But Bond quickly came in, took the No. 1 slot for LA, and never looked back. With the Galaxy ready to move on after David Bingham seemed to be in decline, an upgrade at goalkeeper was needed. And Bond provided an immediate upgrade.

Here are Bond’s stats in 2021:

Jonathan Bond 2021 LA Galaxy Statistics

2021 Games Played Games Started Minutes Saves Goals Allowed GAA Shutouts Win % Save % Yellow Cards Red Cards
2021 Games Played Games Started Minutes Saves Goals Allowed GAA Shutouts Win % Save % Yellow Cards Red Cards
MLS 31 31 2,790 121 50 1.61 4 38.7 72.7 2 0

I think it’s worth parsing a few things out about Bond’s first season with the Galaxy. He was the undisputed starter in goal, with Jonathan Klinsmann just getting a few spot starts along the way. Klinsmann had one really good game, but Bond’s place was never really in doubt.

Bond started the season on fire. Through about 10 games, he looked like the favorite to be MLS Newcomer of the Year, and maybe have a say in Goalkeeper of the Year, too. He showed he could step up to preserve a tight result and make the big saves when needed, something the Galaxy have been struggling to find for...well, quite a long time on a consistent basis.

But like the rest of the team, he did also seem to fall off the pace some along the way. I don’t think he hit a physical wall like his outfield teammates did, but as the defense became unglued and lack of depth caught up to the team, it put a lot more stress on him, and his GOTY campaign died a quiet death along the way. As the goals conceded piled up, his Newcomer of the Year campaign went with it.

Considering Bond had previously played just one full season as the starter before in his career, I think there may have been some growing pains in year one in MLS. At the same time, I don’t see fatal flaws that mean he can’t get better. In fact, unlike most 28 year olds, I think he still has the ability to improve, and if he can be consistently strong across a season, then he should be good to get a few wins himself and potentially help the Galaxy reach contender status.

So all in all, it was a promising first season for Bond, who was definitely one of the standouts overall in the Galaxy’s season and the clear starter. But there’s a real hope he can elevate his game further and become a force between the posts. If he can, then the individual accolades and team success could flow from there.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.