Less than two days before the 2005 MLS SuperDraft, the San Jose Earthquakes and Los Angeles Galaxy executed a major trade Wednesday involving four promising young players and two 2005 MLS SuperDraft picks.
In the deal, Galaxy forward Alejandro Moreno and defender Chris Aloisi will head north to the Bay Area, while the Earthquakes sent defender Todd Dunivant and goalkeeper Steve Cronin to their Southern California rivals. The teams will also swap first round picks, with the Galaxy taking the Quakes' top pick (No. 5 overall) and the Quakes getting the No. 6 overall pick from the Galaxy.
With the move, both teams fill pressing needs. By picking up Moreno, the Quakes begin the process of restocking their strike force. The 2004 MLS goal-scoring co-leader, Brian Ching, looked to be alone up top with the departure of Landon Donovan and the rumored exit of Dwayne De Rosario.
Moreno, a Venezuelan international and three-year veteran of MLS, amassed six goals and 14 points while making 25 appearances and 12 starts in 2004. All six goals came on or before June 5 as Moreno filled in for the injured Carlos Ruiz. His goal total included a hat trick in a 4-2 win against D.C. United on May 19.
"With the departures on our front line, we needed to make a move to get a proven forward, and we think that Alejandro Moreno has proven himself the past three seasons in this league," said Earthquakes head coach Dominic Kinnear. "Over the years, he has impressed me when he has played against us and he has given us problems in those games. Now it will be nice to have him on our side."
The grand prize for the Galaxy in Wednesday's trade appears to be Dunivant. A 24-year-old defender from Stanford University, Dunivant had an impressive rookie season in 2003, setting an Earthquakes record for both starts by a rookie (30) and points by a rookie. Though he missed nearly half of the 2004 season due to injury, Dunivant is likely to provide a steady presence on the left side of what is expected to be a new-look Galaxy back line.
"Todd is undoubtedly one of the most skillful young defenders in MLS," said Galaxy head coach Steve Sampson. "He will be a big piece of the puzzle as we compete for the MLS Cup championship in 2005."
Aloisi provides defensive cover for the Earthquakes in Dunivant's absence and may yet earn a spot in Dominic Kinnear's starting XI. The Syracuse University graduate was drafted in the sixth round of the 2004 MLS SuperDraft and made four appearances (three starts) for the Galaxy in his rookie year.
Cronin was selected with the 10th pick of the 2004 MLS SuperDraft and has yet to make an appearance in a league match. The Santa Clara University product starred for the U.S. under-20 men's national team in the 2003 World Youth Championship, earning a place on the tournament's Best XI. Barring an injury to starting Galaxy 'keeper Kevin Hartman, Cronin will start the season as an understudy.
Jason Halpin is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.