Galaxy add local flavor, back line depth via draft
The LA Galaxy added some depth while picking up some local players in Tuesday’s MLS Supplemental Draft.
While top pick Bryan Gaul joins the Galaxy from Bradley University in Illinois, three of the next four players LA took are from Southern California schools.
“Whenever we can have an opportunity to have some of our local players compete to be on the Galaxy roster, I think it’s a real plus,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena told reporters on Tuesday.
Rafael Garcia out of Cal State Northridge, Stephen Posa from the University of San Diego and San Diego State’s Justin Davies were taken in the second and fourth rounds, respectively. Also joining the Galaxy is Brazilian Yuri Gorentzvaig (above).
While the players add some potential in several areas and could someday provide depth for the team, looking past March for any of the quintet is perhaps asking too much.
“The challenge for these players, short term, is to make the roster and I can’t even look that far ahead to see if they’re going to be stepping on the field with our first team in the year,” Arena said. “The initial challenge for them is to make our roster. We return a fair amount of our roster, so it’s not going to be easy for anybody. It will be challenging.”
Still, three of the Galaxy’s four Supplemental Draft picks from 2011 made the club and two – Dan Keat and Ryan Thomas – saw minutes in the regular season.
With this crop of players, the Galaxy could add depth across the back line at both left back and central defense (Gaul) as well as right back (Davies). Garcia, meanwhile, is a defensive midfielder while Posa played primarily on the right wing. Gorentzvaig is a forward.
In Gaul, the Galaxy have a player who is a physical specimen as well as someone who did not solely focus on one spot during his collegiate career.
“[Gaul is] a left-footed player [who] can play either center back or left back and we’ll look at him in that position,” Arena said of the 6-foot-5 Illinois native. “Hopefully he’s a player who will be able to adapt and help us. He has good size as well. A good athlete and a kid we think has a chance, which is obviously why we drafted him.”
Garcia is not quite as tall his new incoming teammate. Listed at 5-foot-6, the Canoga Park, Calif., native “showed well” at the Combine, Arena said. “He looked very comfortable and is a good, solid player and it will be interesting to see how he fits into our preseason.”
Gorentzvaig, meanwhile, was one of the handful of foreign players at the Combine, but that did not stop Arena from picking him up.
“Those kinds of events are difficult for foreign players because culturally they’re out of whack with the whole thing,” Arena said. “Yuri looked to me like he could be a good second forward, some potential there. I liked what I saw and figured we’d take a flier with him.”
Posa and Davies – the younger brother of former D.C. United and US national team striker Charlie Davies – rounded out the choices. The two were players Arena said he had seen during the college soccer season.
“We saw some potential there,” Arena said, “and they’re local kids, so we wanted to select both them and see if they can take advantage of this opportunity.”
Luis Bueno covers the LA Galaxy for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org