The Los Angeles Galaxy confirmed Friday the signing of striker Alan Gordon, the A-League Rookie of the Year this season with the Portland Timbers -- who also played with the Galaxy during the preseason.
Gordon signed his MLS contract Friday after Galaxy head coach Steve Sampson, who figuring a difficult postseason ahead saw the need to reinforce his forward line -- which then became even more necessary with an injury to Carlos Ruiz that will likely keep him out of the starting lineup this weekend.
"With the injury to Ruiz, who suffered a contusion in his right thigh with his country in the World Cup qualifier, we can throw him onto the substitutes bench, since we'll certainly start with players like Alejandro Moreno or Joseph Ngwenya, alongside [Jovan] Kirovski. From there Gordon could see some minutes, but it's difficult against San Jose," Sampson said Friday at The Home Depot Center after an unusual schedule that saw training shortened to 45 minutes in front of the game Saturday against the San Jose Earthquakes.
"Alan is here to contribute. He scored a lot of goals with his ex-club and I hope the good run he had with them he's brought in his luggage, in order to help us reach the promised land, which is the MLS title," Sampson said.
The 22-year-old Gordon, out of Oregon State University, was named A-League Rookie of the Year after scoring 17 goals, sharing the goal-scoring crown with Dante Washington of Virginia Beach. He was named A-League Player of the Week on three occasions, and hit for hat tricks on two separate occasions.
"I'm very excited to be here in Los Angeles," Gordon said. "This is one of my dreams come true. I will be playing alongside Cobi Jones and Carlos Ruiz, whom I try to emulate each day, since they are the best in MLS in their respective positions.
"I did my preseason here with coach Sigi Schmid, who told me I should come back, because I still had something to prove ... and here I am. Coach Sampson has put a lot of trust in me and I'm here to contribute in whatever I can. The Los Angeles Galaxy is definitely my team, I feel their colors deeply and am definitely thrilled to be here."
Gordon's signing could be even more important after Ruiz missed practice on Friday morning and will likely be kept out of the starting lineup against the Earthquakes, but Sampson said it wasn't as grave as first thought.
"At the beginning we thought Carlos had suffered a much more serious injury. He has a contusion of the right thigh. He wasn't at practice today, but he'll be here at The Home Depot Center this afternoon, where (athletic trainer) Ivan Pierra will review it," Sampson said.
"I don't think he'll go from the start against San Jose, but that will depend upon the needs of the team, the pain he's feeling and the recommendations of the medical staff. He could play in the second half; it isn't that serious. In his place we might put in Moreno or Ngwenya."
Ruiz will undergo a series of examinations on Friday afternoon, to determine if he'll be in the game on Saturday, in the latest installment of the California Clasico between the Galaxy and the Earthquakes.
Rene Romano is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.