Former LA Galaxy (and current Panama national team) goalkeeper Jaime Penedo today denied any knowledge of a verbal agreement to return to MLS to play for D.C. United or any other team, in an interview with Panamanian press. Which begs the question, how in the heck did Penedo get attached to D.C. in the first place?
Let's start with some background. Penedo left the Galaxy last July in a discussion that appears to be surrounded by the money and/or length of contract in LA, which was approximately $175,000 guaranteed money according to last July's salary list released by the Players' Union. Penedo joined Saprissa in Costa Rica, who signed him to a deal through 2018.
Then a funny thing happened. Saprissa fell in the 2016 Verano tournament semifinal to Alajuelense on a 5-1 aggregate Wednesday night, and Penedo announced his departure from Saprissa 6 months into that contract, saying essentially, "What begins badly ends badly."
Then a Panamanian columnist, citing people close to Penedo, tweeted this:
Simply put, a move to D.C. makes no sense. United's roster spots and international spots are all taken up. At a positional depth level, they have approximately 7,000 goalkeepers at the moment, with Travis Worra seeing the starts at the moment, Tally Hall backing him up, Charlie Horton and Andrew Dykstra out due to injury, and normal starter Bill Hamid about to resume training soon. Adding the 34 year-old Penedo, even at a fraction of the cost, would be frivolous. Could an MLS team use him? Probably. Could D.C.? Nah. This afternoon, Penedo added a denial to the Costa Rica press with the aforementioned one to Panama's media.
So to answer the question I posed at the beginning of this, about how this rumor got started? If I had to guess, reports of former Colorado Rapids player (and Penedo's Panama teammate) Gabriel Torres receiving interest by D.C. stirred enough interest in the press in Panama, hence looping the Black-and-Red into the mix. With the transfer window for MLS sides closing next Wednesday, the silliness will probably continue for a little while longer.