With Buddle gone, forwards a draft concern for LA

Galaxy could also grab two-way midfielder with 16th pick

Bruce Arena - playoffs 2

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When Edson Buddle joined German side FC Ingolstadt earlier this week, he created a large hole in perhaps the most pressing area for the club ahead of Thursday’s MLS SuperDraft: the crop of reliable forwards.

But there other needs, too, for the Galaxy, who hold the 16th pick overall pick and one each in the second and third rounds. MLSsoccer.com takes a look at the three pressing needs for the club heading into the draft and how the team might address them.

1. Forward. Buddle took his team-high 17 goals and team Most Valuable Player award to Germany's second division. In doing so, he left the Galaxy paper-thin up front. The first thing the Galaxy did was to deal for a forward and acquired the well-traveled Adam Cristman, a finalist for Rookie of the Year in 2007 who is now on his fourth club. Cristman, Mike Magee and Jovan Kirovski are now alone up top, but the club holds the rights to Juan Pablo Ángel. The Galaxy dealt Tristan Bowen to Chivas USA in the offseason and now have no youth in the spot to groom and develop.

While the top blue-chip prospects could be gone by the time the Galaxy and their 16th pick are on the board, the club might still find a bargain at the bottom of the first round, perhaps a player like Penn State's Corey Hertzog or Michigan's Justin Meram.

2. Central midfielder. The Galaxy have plenty of bodies in the middle of the field, with Juninho (who is expected to return on loan from Sao Paulo again), interchangeable defensive midfielder Chris Birchall and 2010 first-rounder Michael Stephens. But each player missed several games, either due to personal reasons (Juninho) or loss of form (Stephens).

What the group lacks as well is a two-way midfielder, strong on both sides of the ball. If no suitable forward is left at the bottom of the first round, the Galaxy might opt for a midfielder who could fit that bill, perhaps Akron's Anthony Ampaipitakwong or North Carolina's Stephen McCarthy.

3. Central defense. Omar Gonzalez is a star, but the Galaxy had a revolving door at central defense once Gregg Berhalter went down in August. The club does not lack bodies for that position (A.J. DeLaGarza, Leonardo, Yohance Marshall) but unless the club is willing to hand the reins over to DeLaGarza, a surefire starter is not among the group.

If the Galaxy’s choices at forward or central midfield are unsuitable at the bottom of the first round, a safe choice would be to grab a potential starting central defender such as Michael Boxell from UCSB or possibly Cal’s AJ Soares.

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