UPDATE: The LA Galaxy have officially announced the signing of Giancarlo Gonzalez and have solved the mystery of how they moved up in the allocation order.
Per the club’s press release, the LA Galaxy completed three transactions in the signing of Gonzalez. The last of those is the actual addition of Gonzalez from Bologna using Targeted Allocation Money (TAM). The TAM signing means that his salary will land between MLS’ Max Budget of $530,000 and the TAM ceiling of $1.5-million.
But in order to get to that signing, the Galaxy had to move up in the allocation order by completing to jumps up the list from their #11 position.
The first jump was from #11 to #2. The Galaxy traded $300,000 in 2019 TAM and $100,000 in 2020 TAM to Orlando City for the #2 slot. Orlando subsequently fell backward to the #11 slot but was $400,000 richer.
The second jump was a much smaller one and a jump that didn’t cost the Galaxy much at all. But the move was smaller so the overall value of the move was much smaller.
To move into the #1 allocation ranking the Galaxy traded their natural first-round draft pick in 2020 to Toronto FC. In return, the Galaxy acquired the #1 slot.
For Toronto, they moved to the #2 allocation ranking just long enough for the Galaxy to sign Gonzalez and are now back in the #1 slot.
So the real move was the trade up with Orlando.
“Giancarlo is a very experienced and talented central defender that we believe will strengthen our backline,” said LA Galaxy General Manager Dennis te Kloese in the club’s press release. “He is familiar with MLS and he has played at the highest levels across the world. We are excited to add him to our roster and look forward to integrating him into our team.”
Gonzalez will occupy the Galaxy’s ninth International Slot leaving them with one 2019 slot still remaining.
You can read the rest of our story below for more details on who Gonzalez is likely to replace and what that means for the Galaxy’s defense.
CARSON, Calif. — The LA Galaxy have finally completed the deal for Costa Rican defender Giancarlo Gonzalez. Kevin Baxter of the LA Times first reported the story.
The 31-year-old, who trained with the Galaxy today (off to the side) ,and will most likely train with the full team on Thursday, could be available for selection by Guillermo Barros Schelotto on Saturday for their match against the Philadelphia Union (7:30 P.M.; SpectrumSN).
For the last month, the Galaxy, and General Manager Dennis te Kloese have been patiently pursuing the player while also navigating the Major League Soccer allocation process.
The deal with Italian side Bologna seemed to progress quickly — with Gonzalez only playing in 12 of the clubs matches this season. Meanwhile, the allocation process looked to have nearly stalled the agreement altogether.
Gonzalez, who played for the Columbus Crew during the 2014 season, was transferred out of the league for more than $500,000 after a stellar World Cup performance for Costa Rica. Because of the transfer fee, to bring him back into the league, the Galaxy needed to move up in the allocation order from their 11th spot. Toronto FC and Orlando City were no. 1 and no. 2 in the order and it’s likely the Galaxy traded with one of them.
The details of how the Galaxy moved up were not released at the time of signing, and to date, the Galaxy haven’t officially confirmed the deal. Although, an official announcement could potentially be released on Thursday.
It’s expected that the Galaxy traded allocation positions with one of those teams in exchange for some combination of Allocation Money. And it seems unlikely the Galaxy included any players in the deal.
Gonzalez is expected to take over the center back position for Dan Steres who has been nothing short of excellent in the Galaxy’s first five games. He’s scored twice and been the clubs most valuable defender while being paired with new addition Diego Polenta. And while Polenta has struggled to adjust to MLS, and has just returned to the field after taking six months off, Steres has been rock solid.
Add in the fact that with an overabundance of defenders — the Galaxy now have nine defenders on the roster, including Gonzalez — there’s some speculation that the Galaxy could move Steres to a team needing a domestic center back.
The move also raises a question about the Galaxy’s pursuit of a striker that would be capable of backing up 37-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Ibrahimovic was coming off of an achilles injury and missed two of the Galaxy’s first five games.
The Galaxy recently acquired an International Player Slot from NYCFC in a deal that sent $175,000 in allocation money toward NYC. That spot remains open even after Gonzalez is added to the roster (the Galaxy have ten total spots, and with Gonzalez, have nine of those slots occupied).
But the Galaxy are gaining an experienced international with over 75 Costa Rican appearances and a player that has been playing in Europe over the last four and a half years.
What adjustment period he’ll need, and what would happen if/when Gonzalez stumbles out of the gate, could dictate a lot of how the Galaxy play.
And with the Galaxy holding ten international slots and each MLS team starting every season with only eight slots, it puts the Galaxy at a significant disadvantage when it comes to planning for the future. Players would either need to be moved, or those additional two slots would need to be purchased. Leaving the Galaxy to negotiate with teams that know full well they need them to be roster compliant.
Te Kloese and Schelotto must navigate the situation carefully. Especially after the Galaxy’s three-game winning streak was extended and the Galaxy marked their first shutout.
The club currently sits third in the Western Conference and fourth overall in the league. Any slip from that, because of changing player personnel, wouldn’t be taken lightly by the fan base.