PHILADELPHIA— The LA Galaxy may have traded out of the first round of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, but if history tells us anything, there could be value with their 23rd pick in the second round.
There have been quite a few high value 23rd picks from U.S. National Team midfielder Graham Zusi and LA Galaxy legend – and Galaxy Academy Director – Peter Vagenas to U.S. National Team veteran and former LA Galaxy left back Eddie Lewis among others. In fact, the history of the 23rd selection—in my opinion—is much more illustrious than that of the 14th pick which was headlined by Shalrie Joseph, George John and Ned Grabavoy.
The complete history of the 23rd pick is below:
2013— Luke Spencer, New England Revolution -- Suffered an ACL tear in preseason and did not make the Revolution's roster. Spencer resumed training with New England at the end of the 2013 season.
2012—Lucky Moksana, Chicago Fire -- Did not make the Fire roster out of preseason. Currently a member of the NASL's Tampa Bay Rowdies.
2011—Michael Farfan, Philadelphia Union -- Finished third in rookie of the year voting in 2011, signed with Liga MX side Cruz Azul after three seasons with the Union.
2010—Ross LaBauex, Colorado Rapids -- Made 18 appearances with the Colorado Rapids before being waived in September 2012, signed with USL Pro club Rochester Rhinos in March 2013.
2009—Graham Zusi, Kansas City Wizards (Sporting Kansas City) -- A regular with Sporting Kansas City and the U.S. National Team, Zusi was an MLS All-Star and MLS Best XI Selection in 2012 and 2013. Zusi was an MLS MVP finalist in 2012.
2008—Yomby William, Kansas City Wizards (Sporting Kansas City) -- Did not make a competitive appearance for Kansas City and has spent the last five years with USL Pro side Rochester Rhinos.
2007—Ty Harden, Los Angeles Galaxy -- Galaxy defender of the year in 2007, Harden retired in 2008 to pursue philanthropic endeavors in Africa. Harden returned to soccer in 2009 and is currently with the San Jose Earthquakes.
2006—Willie Sims, New England Revolution -- Made nine appearances with the Revolution from 2006 to 2007 and last played with USL Premier Developmental League side Los Angeles Misioneros.
2005—Domenic Mediate, Columbus Crew -- Played three seasons in MLS with the Crew and D.C. United before ending his career in 2009 with the Puerto Rico Islanders.
2004—Jeremiah White, New England Revolution -- Spent most of his career in Europe and earned his lone U.S. National Team cap in 2008 during a friendly against Sweden at The Home Depot Center.
2003—Roger Levesque, San Jose Earthquakes -- Spent three seasons with San Jose winning MLS Cup in 2003, but then moved onto Seattle Sounders FC for the next 10 seasons where he became a club icon. Levesque is currently a University of Washington grad student.
2002—Jon Busch, Columbus Crew -- Currently with the San Jose Earthquakes, Busch is one of only six MLS goalkeepers all-time with more than 100 wins.
2001—Justin Evans, Chicago Fire -- Played in MLS for two seasons with three clubs. Current head coach of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
2000—Peter Vagenas, Los Angeles Galaxy -- A two-time MLS Cup champion, Vagenas captained the LA Galaxy's 2005 MLS Cup winning side. After a 13-year career in MLS, Vagenas became the LA Galaxy Academy Director.
1999—Greg Sutton, Chicago Fire -- Longtime MLS goalkeeper who last played with the Montreal Impact.
1998—Jason Boyce, Colorado Rapids -- Bounced around MLS for three seasons and last played in MLS with the LA Galaxy reserves in 2010.
1997—Todd DeNault, Columbus Crew -- Released during preseason training camp, but no other information on DeNault was found.
1996—Eddie Lewis, San Jose Clash -- A left-sided defender who played four seasons with the San Jose Clash and was named to MLS Best XI in 1999. Lewis went on to play for Fulham, Leeds United and Derby County before joining the Galaxy in 2008. A U.S. National Team regular, Lewis appeared in the 2002 and 2006 World Cup.
The LA Galaxy were sorely lacking a target presence during their ill-fated 2013 campaign, but over the past seven days, LA have added two legitimate scoring options to their attacking arsenal.
Over the past week, the Galaxy have added two forwards in Brazilian forward Samuel and now Canadian international Rob Friend. Friend, 32, joins the Galaxy after an 11-year career in Europe that saw him tally 75 goals in nearly 260 league appearances with eight clubs.
Friend has spent the last two seasons with 1860 Munich making 24 appearances, but over the past season, he has played in 10 matches for the Die Löwen (The Lions) scoring a single goal. The 6-foot-5 forward’s final goal for Munich came on Sept. 21 when he notched a goal and an assist during a 3-1 victory over FC Erzgebirge Aue. Friend’s performance against the Saxony-based club was a vintage target forward display as he was able to aid in the build-up of a goal with a well-time knockdown of a cross before tallying a goal himself off a corner kick minutes later.
Such aerial skills were at a premium for the Galaxy in 2013 as center back Omar Gonzalez was often the lone target for the Galaxy on set pieces and often heavily marked by opposing defenses. The presence of a target forward like Friend will only stand to aid LA on attacking set pieces by freeing up space for LA’s other attackers like Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane.
Although Friend brings a strong European pedigree to StubHub Center his minutes won’t be guaranteed as he’s expected to compete for the starting spot alongside Keane with the 22-year-old Samuel. Should either of the forwards lock down a starting place next to the Irishman, expect Donovan to drift back into the right side of midfield.
Highlights of Friend’s final goal for Munich are below.
We’re less than a week from the 2014 MLS SuperDraft and on Friday, the 2014 MLS adidas Players Combine kicked off the draft week festivities.
In the first match, Team Predator defeated Team Nitro Charge 4-1 off goals from Zach Boldon (Denver), Tesho Akindele (Colorado School of Mines), Mamadou Diouf (Connecticut), and Pierre Omanga (So. New Hampshire). Akron’s Reinaldo Brenes scored the lone goal for Team Nitro Charge.
The final match of the evening, Team Brazuca defeated Team adiZero 2-0 off goals from Michigan’s Fabio Pereira and Maryland’s Schillo Tshuma.
MLSsoccer and Soccer by Ives each provided an update on the players who succeeded—and failed— during Day One. On Saturday, the teams will interview the combine participants before the players return to action on Sunday.
CARSON, Calif. – Count LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan among those praising Toronto FC’s reported capture of star U.S. National Team midfielder Michael Bradley.
Although the deal has not yet been announced by MLS or Toronto FC, the widely reported transfer was confirmed by Bradley’s Italian club A.S. Roma on Thursday. Bradley is the latest U.S. National Team standout to return to MLS or elect to stay in the league and the highest profile returnee since Seattle Sounders FC’s signing of Clint Dempsey in August.
When asked about Bradley’s reported move, Donovan admitted that the return of the 26-year-old was “great” for Toronto FC, MLS and his national team teammate.
“I think that it’s a testament to our league that people want to come back and play here particularly six months before a World Cup,” said Donovan ahead of U.S. National Team training on Thursday.” It makes a strong statement, obviously, [Tim Leiweke] made it clear to him that it was something that he wanted, and Mike is a smart guy, I’m sure that he’s thought about this a lot and it’s something that he wants to do so I think that it is great.”
If any U.S. National Team player is familiar with Bradley’s current situation, it would be Donovan who made a high-profile return to MLS from Germany’s Bayer Leverkusen in 2005 to join the Los Angeles Galaxy. Donovan then opted to extend his stay in MLS last summer when he inked a multi-year deal to stay with the Galaxy.
Although the moves of players like Bradley and Dempsey may be criticized, Donovan attests that the two players are simply “following their dreams” in a much improved MLS than the one the Galaxy forward returned to in 2005.
“The league is a lot better. The league is different because financially more stable, but in all ways, coaching is better, youth development is better, there’s more media, there’s more attention, everything is different and constantly changing,” said Donovan. “We always say that [MLS] is not where we want it to be, but when guys like Michael and Clint make decisions like that, when [Omar Gonzalez], Matt Besler, Graham Zusi make the decision to stay here when they could have gone abroad, it makes a big statement.
“The way that you make the league better is by having better players and certainly in the last six months, it has gotten two of our best [American] players back in the league.”
What do you think about the move?
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CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy will take on the San Jose Earthquakes for the first time in 2014 on Feb. 15 in Fresno’s Chukchansi Park for the inaugural Central California Cup.
The match is LA’s first preseason fixture in Fresno since 2007 when the Galaxy defeated the Fresno Fuego 4-0. LA's match against San Jose is their second announced preseason game as they will take on Armenian champions FC Shirak on Feb. 8 at StubHub Center.
The U.S. National Team opened their annual January camp on Tuesday and U.S. Soccer has provided a brief video update with interviews with head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, Mike Magee, Graham Zusi, and Matt Besler
Check it out below.
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy bolstered their forward corps on Tuesday with the addition of Brazilian forward Samuel on a year-long loan from Fluminense, but head coach and general manager Bruce Arena says LA won’t be stopping there.
While observing U.S. National Team practice, Arena caught up with reporters to discuss the signing of the new Brazilian target forward and without getting into any specifics, mentioned that LA hope to lock down the signature of another forward within the next two weeks.
“We’re going to follow up this week with probably another player who can play that position as well. We’re trying to shore up our target position,” said Arena.
The addition of a second target striker could be a boon for the Galaxy who lacked a significant physical presence up top in 2013 as only 19-year-old Homegrown forward Jack McBean provided a true target forward presence.
Thoughts on Arena’s comments?
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LA Galaxy bolster their attack with the addition of Brazilian forward Samuel on a loan from Fluminense
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy stated that acquiring a target forward was at the top of their wish list for the 2014 season and just seven days into the year, they may have got their man.
LA announced the acquisition of 22-year-old Brazilian forward Samuel on a year-long loan from Brazil’s Fluminense on Tuesday. The 6-foot-1 center target striker who tallied 15 goals in 72 appearances over the last two years with the Fluzão will be added to the Galaxy’s roster pending the receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and his P-1 Visa.
“We are pleased to add Samuel to our roster,” said LA Galaxy Head Coach and General Manager Bruce Arena in a statement released by the club. “Samuel is a young, talented forward with both size and skill. We are confident his addition will help boost our attack in 2014.”
Samuel's signature is a coup for the Galaxy as the Brazilian striker who served as the strike partner for Brazilian international Fred at Fluminense had been linked with a number of clubs in Spain, Brazil and China in recent weeks. Most notably, Samuel nearly completed deals to Real Madrid B and Barcelona-based Espanyol, but saw the moves fall through that kept him in Brazil.
Thoughts on the Brazilian signing?
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CARSON, Calif. – Mark your calendars: the dates for the LA Galaxy’s CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal with Club Tijuana has been set.
LA will host Tijuana at StubHub Center on March 12 at 7 pm in the first leg before the Galaxy head to Mexico for the second leg at Estadio Calliente six days later on March 18 at 7pm.
The series will be part of a swing of five games in 14 days for the Galaxy as the series in sandwiched between the team’s first three MLS regular season matches against Real Salt Lake on March 8 and DC. United on March 15 at StubHub Center and RSL on March 22 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) January 6, 2014
It’s that time again when we make our resolutions for the New Year in hopes of making our lives just a little bit better.
To properly ring in what promises to be an eventful 2014, I decided to make a list of LA Galaxy New Year’s Resolutions. Now this list ranges from my own thoughts about what the team needs to a few other ideas on how to improve the team and MLS in the New Year.
* Build toward the future: continue to offer playing time to younger players like Jack McBean, Rafael Garcia and Greg Cochrane. One of the team’s greatest successes of 2013 was that head coach Bruce Arena afforded plenty of valuable game time to players like the three aforementioned youth. With international commitments and injuries likely to cause problems yet again, the Galaxy boss should continue his policy of giving time to emerging young talent.
*Deal with change: There will be some notable absences from the LA Galaxy roster in 2013, but none will be bigger than the departures of longtime right-sided player Sean Franklin—who was selected in Stage One of the MLS Re-Entry Process by D.C. United—and Jose Villarreal who was sent on a year-long loan with Cruz Azul. Both players were frequent contributors a year ago and will need to be replaced in the coming weeks.
*Allow Juninho to receive more responsibility in the attack especially on free kick situations. The Brazilian midfielder saw his offensive impact stunted in 2013, but he’ll be expected to carry more of the load next season especially on set piece opportunities.
*That being said, LA must show more resilience on defending set pieces and second ball opportunities to prevent the deficiencies that caused the club to fail last season. We've gone over this one many, many times.
*Find a new center forward to play alongside Robbie Keane to add a natural target striker to the Galaxy attack. During the club’s final media availability of 2013, Arena stated that finding this type of player was priority number one for LA ahead of the next campaign and with the transfer window open; the Galaxy will have the chance to get their man. With a target presence alongside Keane, Landon Donovan could transition back to the right midfield and offer greater width to the midfield.
*Build off what was learned in 2013: Continued production from Marcelo Sarvas and Jaime Penedo. LA’s two breakout stars in 2013 were Marcelo Sarvas and Jaime Penedo who became regular members of the Galaxy starting XI by season’s end, but production must continue to progress into 2014. For Sarvas, he’ll likely need cede some of his offensive responsibilities to his midfield partner Juninho and contain his physical exuberance that caused him to lead MLS in fouls committed last year. Meanwhile, Penedo must continue to progress as a goalkeeper and cut down on mistakes that led to goals down the stretch.
*More professional growth from Gyasi Zardes and Robbie Rogers. The two attackers experienced inconsistent seasons in 2013, but the New Year brings greater expectations for both to provide reliable contributions for LA. If the pair can develop into offensive weapons, LA may have an added attacking dimension—particularly on the flanks— that was sorely lacking last season.
*Be more successful: Make a strong run in the U.S. Open Cup. The LA Galaxy have gone out in the third round in the U.S. Open Cup to the Carolina RailHawks each of the last two years, but with no CONCACAF Champions League waiting for them in the fall, a long run in the Open Cup should be beneficial for the team to provide minutes to their entire roster. Also, winning the USOC will help place the team back into the CCL for the 2015-16 tournament.
*Continue see the LA Galaxy Academy grow and produce players who could become valuable members of the first team in the future. LA Academy forawrd Haji Wright garnered a lot of the headlines toward the end of the year, but LA’s academy teams are continuing to show promise in the form of players like Adonis Amaya, Jaime Villarreal and many others.
*Good health to Robbie Keane who is recovering from surgery on both of his Achilles as he looks to get ready for the preseason. The Galaxy are hoping to have their captain back to full health by the start of preseason, but what is most important is having him fit and ready for the start of the season and the all-important CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal against Club Tijuana in March.
*Travel More: Get off to a strong start against Club Tijuana in the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal and keep dreams of the FIFA Club World Cup alive. The LA Galaxy’s quest for continental glory begins in March as they host the first leg of the CCL quarterfinals against Club Tijuana. With a victory at home, the Galaxy will be in strong standing as they look to advance past Xolos and reach the CCL semifinals for a second consecutive year in front of a hostile crowd at Estadio Calliente.
*Prosperity for Omar Gonzalez and Landon Donovan as they look to make their World Cup dream come true. Both Galaxy Designated Players appear to be strong candidates to make U.S. National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but both will need to stay healthy and in form to ensure a place on the plane to Brazil. If they’re able to reach Brazil, the pair is likely to be in Klinsmann’s starting XI and can expect to be major contributors as the U.S. hopes to advance from Group G over the likes of Ghana, Portugal and Germany. Here’s hoping for more moments like this one from four years ago.
*New ventures for the coming year: New MLS Television deals. Southern California is spoiled with the great Galaxy coverage on the Time Warner SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes, but in 2014, MLS will look to negotiate their new national television deals which will play a major role in the league’s growth going forward. More financial resources from national television partners can only help grow the league which hopes to be among the world’s best during the next decade.
*Continue to foster a connection with the readers of this blog and all content on LAGalaxy.com. What truly makes my job worthwhile is interacting with all of those that enjoy my work on the LA Galaxy Insider Blog and LAGalaxy.com, and in 2014, I hope to have greater interaction with you the readers so that we can place the type of content that you’re looking for on this space.
Happy New Year.