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LA Galaxy 2022 Player Postmortem: Jonathan Bond

Veteran was steady, if more middling in form this time around.

MLS: Nashville SC at LA Galaxy Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jonathan Bond returned for his second season with the LA Galaxy in 2022. His debut season started in sparkling form, as the Englishman looked like he had a legit case to be in the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year conversation, before starting a slow decline over the second half of 2021. In general, his level was decent in 2022, but aside from a few glimpses here and there, Bond looked to be closer to his baseline level than his best this year.

After LA had struggled to find stability, with most goalkeepers getting a couple years at most before the next manager would scrap the starter and move on to the next one, Bond’s age (he turned 29 in May) and status as a domestic player due to holding an American passport help his cause, as does his calm demeanor and ability to stand on his head from time to time.

Here are Bond’s stats with the Galaxy in 2022:

Jonathan Bond LA Galaxy 2022 Statistics

2022 Games Played Games Started Minutes Saves Goals Allowed GAA Shutouts Win % Save % Yellow Cards Red Cards
2022 Games Played Games Started Minutes Saves Goals Allowed GAA Shutouts Win % Save % Yellow Cards Red Cards
Regular Season 34 34 3,060 91 51 1.5 7 41 64.1 2 0
U.S. Open Cup 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Playoffs 2 2 180 7 3 0.5 1 50 70 0 0
Total 36 36 3,240 98 54 1.5 8 41.6 64.5 2 0

Bond’s best game is one that is probably sadly forgotten, it probably was the week it happened, which was the road draw at Minnesota United, a Wednesday game where he had the very best individual performance by any Galaxy player all season.

After LA took a late lead, Minnesota had an even later equalizer, and even though Bond let in a goal in a road draw, I think without his performance the Galaxy would have lost that one 4-1, easily. And because he didn’t pitch a shutout, MLS completely shunned this performance and he got no recognition for it.

Them’s the breaks for goalkeepers in a gigantic league, I’m afraid. Otherwise, Bond’s season was in some ways better — more clean sheets, a better goals against average, a playoff win — in one way, about the same — goals allowed — and in some ways worse. Most concerning was his save percentage went way down. A 70 percent save percentage is considered strong, and that’s where he was in 2021. In 2022? 64.5 percent is not considered elite. Andre Blake had an otherworldly 79.4 mark in save percentage, for example. Six players who played at least 10 league games had save percentages over 70 percent, to give you an idea. Bond’s save percentage was firmly in the middle of the pack.

The advanced stats show a dropoff for Bond, as well. His Goals-added mark according to ASA for 2022 was -7.41, 59th out of 63 goalkeepers in the league. In contrast, in 2021 he was at -1.41 for the season.

And his scouting report graph shows that Bond is excellent at coming off his line to snuff out scoring chances quickly. Otherwise, he didn’t distinguish himself.

And yet, in looking at the eye test I didn’t think he was a liability for the team. He’s not the kind of player to, say, pass the ball directly at an opposing forward 12 yards from goal, or to inexplicably fall down so early in his save attempt that he opens up the goal more for the opponent, like Clement Diop used to do. It seems more like this year, when Bond was on he was still very good, but the range of good to middling was wider and his underlying numbers all point to it being a middling season overall for him.

Bond was under contract for 2023 already, but he signed a new contract this week to extend his stay at least through 2024. With Jonathan Klinsmann also re-upping for 2023, I think Bond is locked in as the starter, and in comparing him with Klinsmann, fair enough. I wonder if Bond will approach the form he had for the first half of the 2021 season ever again, and at some point that can really start hurting the Galaxy. At the same time, LA’s issues over his first two seasons haven’t laid with him. The defense is slowly improving, and the attack has had ups and downs, but if the Galaxy can get a good replacement in attack with Kevin Cabral gone, they can push into legitimate contender status. If they do that, will Bond be able to keep his level up to push them over the top? I still think he can win games for them, but they won’t just need that from time to time in the regular season, they’ll need it in elimination games, too. On an intangible level, Bond has the tools to be a consistent option for the LA Galaxy, but here’s hoping he provides a bounce back campaign of sorts in 2023 as the club look to push on in being an elite club again.

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