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FC Dallas' success offers hope for Galaxy and Dan Kennedy

FC Dallas' success offers hope for Galaxy and Dan Kennedy
Chivas players Dan Kennedy, left, and Erick Torres pay their respects to the fans on Oct. 26, 2014, after theteam's final game in Carson. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

There was good news for the Galaxy in Sunday's Major League Soccer conference semifinals, which the team missed for the first time in seven seasons. And it came in Dallas, where goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez allowed just a goal in 120 minutes, then stopped two of the four shots he faced in a penalty-kick shootout to eliminate the Seattle Sounders, the Galaxy's most bitter rival.

But the good news wasn't Seattle's loss, it was the play of the 20-year-old Gonzalez.

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After taking over as the starter in August, Gonzalez pitched five shutouts in 11 regular-season games. Add in his recent playoff heroics and Gonzalez has clearly established himself as the team's regular keeper going forward.

Plus he's cheap, earning less than $70,000 in guaranteed compensation this year, a big factor for a team whose best-paid player has a base salary of $364,000.

And that's where the Galaxy, in desperate need of a goalkeeper, comes in.

Gonzalez's stellar play makes it all but certain Dallas will listen to offers for former Chivas USA keeper Dan Kennedy, who played well in 16 starts before going to the bench. Bruce Arena, the Galaxy's coach and general manager, has long been enamored of Kennedy, whose $233,000 salary is far too rich for frugal Dallas to pay a backup.

With its deep academy system and deeper financial resources, the Galaxy is well-positioned to make Dallas an attractive offer in trade for Kennedy, a 33-year-old from Yorba Linda who has made no secret of his desire to finish his MLS career close to home.

Because Dallas is one of four MLS teams still playing, the Galaxy cannot openly discuss the team's players due to league tampering rules. But the Galaxy needs to get someone to play in front of its goal and it won't be offering an extension to 38-year-old Donovan Ricketts, who played poorly, allowing 18 goals in 11 games, after coming over from Orlando in a midseason trade.

Re-signing Jaime Penedo, the man Ricketts replaced, remains another possible solution, although it appears to be an increasingly distant one. Penedo was among the league's top keepers, helping the Galaxy to an MLS Cup in 2014, before demanding his contract be renegotiated twice this season. Arena agreed the first time, in the spring, but when Penedo demanded either a contract extension or his release in July, the Galaxy let him go.

Penedo, 34, hasn't been able to find work since and has now says he regrets what happened.

Publicly the Galaxy say re-signing Penedo, who was well-liked within the team, remains an option. Privately, however, some within the organization say it would be difficult to bring him back given the perception that he quit on the team.

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