By: Alex Baker
It’s been a week of big changes for the Los Angeles Galaxy. Midfielder David Beckham again seems to have put his own needs before those of the people who sign his paycheck by ram-rodding through his training loan with Tottenham Hotspur despite protestations from the club. Meanwhile, back in Los Angeles there have been major departures from the Galaxy camp.
Monday it was announced that Galaxy striker and principal goal-getter Edson Buddle has left the club on a free transfer to join FC Ingolstadt in the second division of the German Bundesliga. Buddle, who was part of the USA’s World Cup team this summer, has been with the Galaxy since 2007. 2010 was Buddle’s best season as a professional player. He scored a total of 17 goals and for a time was the league’s leading scorer before ultimately being overtaken by Chris Wondolowski of the San Jose Earthquakes.
In his own statement Buddle said, “I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Los Angeles and will miss my teammates, coaches, staff and everyone who works for the club as they helped make me the player that I am today. I also want to thank all of the great Galaxy fans who have supported me ever since I arrived at the club and I am hopeful that one day I will be able to return to the Galaxy and help lead them to an MLS Cup championship.”
Buddle’s importance to the Galaxy’s attack last season is perhaps best illustrated by the fact that in the days following his departure the club has signed a total of four attacking players.
On Monday they acquired striker Adam Cristman from D.C. United while on Thursday they signed former Toronto FC forward Chad Barrett. The club also acquired Paolo Cardoza and Hector Jimenez in Thursday’s MLS SuperDraft.
Cristman, a four year MLS veteran, was rookie of the year in 2007 and has a total of 12 goals and six assists in 68 league appearances for the New England Revolution, Kansas City Wizards (Now Sporting Kansas City) and United.
Barrett has a career total of 34 regular season goals in a six year MLS career with Toronto and the Chicago Fire. His best season as a professional was in 2008 when he scored a total of nine goals. In 2010 has was Toronto’s second leading scorer with seven goals. Galaxy acquired Barrett on a trade for future consideration.
Galaxy further bolstered their attack by selecting Uruguayan midfielder Paolo Cardoza in the opening round of the 2010 MLS SuperDraft. Cardoza came up through the youth ranks of Argentinian powerhouse River Plate before joining their reserve side Quilmes. In 2010 the attacking midfielder went on trial with the Columbus Crew and eventually signed with MLS.
Speaking about his selection afterward Cardoza said, “I couldn’t believe it. To have the LA Galaxy pick you is something very incredible.”
In the second round of the draft Galaxy selected University of California midfielder Hector Jimenez. According to ESPN the Bears winger “has great touch, combines well and has the skill to create.”
The Galaxy elected to trade their third round pick to D.C. United in exchange for United’s two first round picks in the supplemental draft.
Despite these new attacking additions to the lineup the Galaxy still look in need of a talismanic target man for Beckham and Landon Donovan to provide service to up front. With the Ronaldinho speculations now having been put to bed for good and Luca Toni having signed with Juventus despite rumors about him joining the Galaxy, it would still greatly behoove the club to sign a high profile attacker before the close of the current transfer window.
Finally it was also announced this week that former Galaxy player, assistant coach and club legend Cobi Jones has departed from the club to take up a new position as Associate Director of Soccer with the New York Cosmos. Jones, 40, was a Galaxy player from 1996 until 2007 when he took up his position as assistant coach.
Upon his departure Jones released a statement saying, “While I am excited to begin this next chapter of my career, I am honored to have been part of the Galaxy organization for the last 15 years as a player, a coach and a member of the LA soccer community. I am thrilled that I was able to play professional soccer in my hometown and help lead the team to championships, hoisting the MLS Cup trophy and more. I will forever be grateful to the Galaxy and the fans.”
Galaxy will kick off their 2011 MLS regular season by facing the Seattle Sounders FC at Qwest Field on Tuesday, March 15.