Baltimore, MD – The LA Galaxy concluded their 2016 MLS Superdraft before it technically even started. At a little past 8:15 AM Pacific Time the LA Galaxy pulled off the move they were looking for. Holders of the 12th overall pick, and the only spot they had in the first two rounds (two picks in the third round, one pick in the fourth round), the LA Galaxy struck a deal with the Colorado Rapids that saw LA get Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) in return for Colorado taking the no. 12 pick.
LA Galaxy Associate Head Coach Dave Sarachan, when speaking exclusively to Corner of the Galaxy, said “we just felt that we were in a position, because of our youth and our academy structure – we have some good young players coming – that the value of the pick and the ability to get some TAM money will help us in the bigger picture.”
What that “bigger picture” is can only be guessed at. And with only the first two rounds of the draft televised, there wasn’t much for LA Galaxy supporters to do.
Apparently sensing the fact that fans might be disappointed the LA Galaxy announced the signing of Free-Agent and fan-favorite, Mike Magee. Magee will add experienced depth to a lineup that is older, but probably deeper than last year. Magee could be considered a replacement for the role Edson Buddle played last year and cover for the younger midfielders. Plus he improves this team’s locker room with his personality and work ethic.
“He is a little older, but he’s also probably a little wiser. He knows a number of our current roster players already, and he, at this stage, is really a veteran leader that we think can mentor some of the younger guys as well. So to be able to have a player like that with his experience, and we still feel like he has gas in the tank, can really help us.” Dave Sarachan, LA Galaxy Associate Head Coach
It should be noted that the Mike Magee deal, in all likelihood, had nothing to do with the TAM trade that was made with Colorado. Magee would have to be making more than the Maximum Player Budget of $436,250. And even though he’s coming off of a Designated Player contract with Chicago, he’s near the end of his career and shouldn’t come anywhere close to that money in 2016.
In addition, to keep everyone busy, the LA Galaxy also announced another signing. Emmanuel Boateng is a 21 year old Ghanaian forward who most recently played for Helsingborgs IF in Sweden. He played for University of California: Santa Barbra for a year and also found his way into the PDL with the Ventura County Fusion. He’s young, has speed and will probably be a project. But Bruce likes projects. He should be someone to keep an eye on. But could also see significant time with LA Galaxy II as the senior team loan him out to their USL affiliate.
WHAT DOES GETTING TAM MEAN?
We’ve talked about TAM before. This is the mechanism that allowed the LA Galaxy to move Omar Gonzalez out of his designated player spot last year in order to bring in Giovani Dos Santos.
MLS announced that for 2016 and 2017 each team was allocated $800,000 per year. Now that didn’t equate to enough money to keep Omar Gonzalez, and he was ultimately traded to Pachuca in Liga MX, but it might be enough to go after an older european star. And the LA Galaxy are rumored to be going after a couple of these players. Perhaps most notably a 31 year old Nigel De Jong.
And let’s face it, Bruce Arena has never really been that interested in the draft. Perhaps 2009 is the only year you can point to, in the Bruce Arena days, where significant contributors have been chosen through this spectacle. 2009 saw Omar Gonzalez and AJ DeLaGarza become almost permanent fixtures in the Galaxy’s backline, but since then?
The LA Galaxy are also extremely focused on their younger talent developed through their academy, LA Galaxy II (USL Team, 3rd Division of Soccer in the United States) and homegrown signings. Gyasi Zardes is a homegrown signing as are Jose Villarreal, Bradford Jamieson IV, Raul Mendiola and Oscar Sorto. Youth can be developed in-house and doesn’t necessarily need to come through the draft.
TAM offers more flexibility for a bigger name and the LA Galaxy look like they are going to capitalize on that.
BIGGER FISH, BIGGER BOAT…
So while other teams sat on the convention room floor, Bruce Arena had already left the building to attend to other business in LA. Sure Dave Sarachan is manning the helm at the draft table, but on this day in 2016, the LA Galaxy got money to increase an offer to a player or players with TAM, signed good depth and a great locker room guy in Mike Magee and invested in some young talent with Boateng.
It’s game over as far as the LA Galaxy are concerned, and Bruce Arena is now free to go after bigger fish with a larger boat than he had when he woke up this morning.
Other teams will have drafted multiple players, but Bruce Arena and the LA Galaxy more than likely, accomplished everything they needed to in a very small timeframe this morning.