Arena: Buddle a cap casualty, but LA gain depth in Clark
Salary cap concerns and needs in the net and midfield prodded the LA Galaxy's moves on Friday, in which they traded away a valued veteran following a typically busy day in the second stage of Major League Soccer's Re-Entry Draft.
The Galaxy sent to Colorado forward Edson Buddle, a 2010 Best XI selection who was hobbled by injuries this year after returning from a year in Germany, after snagging midfielder Colin Clark from Houston and goalkeeper Will Hesmer from Columbus in the draft.
Buddle, who scored just three goals in 28 appearances across all competitions after netting 17 regular-season league goals in 2010 and 15 in 2008 for LA, was a salary-cap move, with the Galaxy picking up allocation money and a first-round selection in next month's Supplemental Draft.
“It's unfortunate. In a perfect world, Edson would still be part of our team, but the reality of MLS is it's not a perfect world,” head coach/GM Bruce Arena said in a post-draft teleconference with local media. “We have salary-cap restrictions and other obligations that we need to adhere to. Unfortunately, as is the case basically every year, you've got to make moves to maintain the integrity of the salary cap.”
The Galaxy made a pre-draft trade with Chivas USA, sending a 2013 international roster slot and their first-round pick in the supplemental draft down the hall to exchange positions Friday, moving up from No. 19 to No. 2 specifically to take Clark.
Arena said he hoped the 28-year-old left-footed flank midfielder, who made just 14 league appearances in 2012 for the Dynamo — only one after August — after playing in 29 league games last year, will “come in and add something different to our team, give us depth.”
The Galaxy coach has targeted midfield and the backline as areas to improve, and he also made a move to shore up his goalkeeping by taking Hesmer, 31, in the second round. The veteran missed last season after undergoing hip surgery in April; he had been Columbus' first-choice goalkeeper since 2007.
“We've not re-signed Josh Saunders, so [Hesmer is] clearly an option for us as we move ahead ...,” Arena said. “We're communication [with Saunders, who is out of contract], just haven't resolved anything contractually.”
The Galaxy got value out of the first two Re-Entry drafts. They took Luke Sassano in the second phase of the 2010 edition, then traded his rights to Columbus for defender Frankie Hejduk. LA last year made four selections and signed defender Andrew Boyens and Pat Noonan, who went through this year's draft unselected. Arena said he was “sure we'll have some dialogue” with both players, whose options were not exercised, but that “no decisions have been made.”
The other two Galaxy players in the draft were selected, with forward Chad Barrett going to New England with the fourth pick and defender Bryan Jordan to San Jose in the third round.