It didn’t take long in the Free Agency market for Jeff Larentowicz to find a new home. He signed on Wednesday, December 14th for expansion-side Atlanta United and abruptly ended his time with the LA Galaxy.
Larentowicz played all of the 2016 season for the LA Galaxy after becoming a free agent at the end of 2015, when his option was declined by the Chicago Fire. He quickly made a move to Los Angeles almost immediately after the Free Agency window opened.
He filled in admirably for the LA Galaxy at the defensive midfield position throughout the year but was probably most recognized for his play after Nigel de Jong departed from the LA Galaxy, midseason, for Galatasaray in Turkey. De Jong left a sizeable hole in the midfield and along with Baggio Husidic, Larentowicz attempted to fill that role. But at 33 years of age, he was often too slow to keep up with other speedy attackers and his overall level of play lacked.
On the whole, however, Larentowicz was a positive addition to the club and it will be interesting to see how the club fills his position. Ultimately, it’s expected that the LA Galaxy will look to the open Designated Player spots to add some world-class talent to the midfield.
Jeff played just over 1,500 minutes and appeared in 23 games (17 starts) during the regular season. He also played in all three of the LA Galaxy’s playoff games. He tallied a single goal and had one assist.
He was the first Free Agent ever to sign in MLS as the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, signed in 2015, allowed for the Free Agency Market for the first time in the league’s history.
OTHER FREE AGENTS
Two other LA Galaxy players are also listed as Free Agents going into 2017. Alan Gordon and Mike Magee, both LA Galaxy journeymen, have a tough decision to make. And it will be interesting to see if the Galaxy play any part in that decision.
Alan Gordon is 35-years old and played 913 minutes for the LA Galaxy in 2016. He scored three times and was a starter down the stretch for an LA Galaxy team that was hampered by injuries and short on experienced attackers with life left in their legs.
Gordon began his career in 2004 with the LA Galaxy and he’s seen multiple teams since then (Chivas, Toronto FC, San Jose) but ultimately returned to LA in 2014. He may still find a place with the LA Galaxy in 2017, but for a team that is trying to skew younger, and a Homegrown talent in Jack McBean ready to take over the super sub role, is there any space in the locker room? It will be a difficult decision for Onalfo and Vagenas as they make their first rulings on players who are basically like club family.
Finally, another LA Galaxy favorite is staring down a decision as well, as 32-year old Mike Magee is a Free Agent in 2017. Magee rejoined the LA Galaxy after being traded to the Chicago Fire in 2013 for the rights to Robbie Rogers. Magee flourished in Chicago and won the league’s MVP in the same year. But injuries and some poor results from the club eventually led to Magee’s return, via free agency, to the LA Galaxy ahead of the 2016 season.
Magee appeared in 30 games and started more than half of those. He scored six goals for the club in 2016 and added 4 assists. But are the LA Galaxy ready to extend an offer to him? The same man who once filled in as a goalkeeper and kept a clean sheet?
The LA Galaxy will have a lot of decision to make. And with the core of 2016’s team already scheduled to return, some veteran depth might be welcomed. And at 32 years of age, Magee seems the most likely to be on the Galaxy’s roster when the new season kicks off.