The soccer world is still catching its breath from English club Chelsea FC buying Spanish striker Fernando Torres from Liverpool during the end of the January transfer window, but in the States, the Los Angeles Galaxy have been making some key moves of their own.
A little over a month ago, the LA squad acquired former New York Red Bull forward Juan Pablo Angel in the MLS Re-Entry draft, making one of the biggest offseason splashes in the MLS. Angel, though certainly not in the prime of his soccer career at age 35, is still nothing less than a consistent goal threat from his position, scoring 58 goals for the Red Bulls during his four seasons with New York.
Angel made a name for himself across the pond in the English Premier League with club Aston Villa, where he finished as the club’s top scorer of the 2003 season, and was arguably the club’s highest paid player during his time with Villa. The New York Red Bulls would eventually sign Angel in 2007, bringing the Columbian-born forward to the MLS where he would be apart of a team that went to the MLS Cup in 2008 and won the MLS Eastern Conference title in 2010.
Angel is only one of the several acquisitions that the Galaxy has made during the offseason stretch; they’ve also signed midfielder and California native Frankie Hejduk, as well as several others. Hejduk, who was also selected by the Galaxy in the Re-Entry draft, gave Los Angeles the opportunity to sign the former Columbus Crew captain.
A decorated midfielder, the Californian has been a member of the United States National team for two Summer Olympic games as well as two FIFA World Cup tournaments. He also won the MLS Cup with Columbus in 2008. Hejduk, like Juan Pablo Angel, is in the twilight of his career at age 36, but still has the ability to add further depth LA has at midfield in the short term as well as mentor the young talent the Galaxy acquired in the draft.
One of the earliest picks for Coach Bruce Arena was a 21-year-old Uruguayan named Paolo Cardozo. Cardozo made a name for himself in Argentina, where he rose through the youth ranks until he was placed on the reserves of the Quilmes Atletico Club.
Though he would only stay with Quilmes for one season, Cardozo impressed the Columbus Crew to earn a trial run during the 2010 season, where he would play before entering into the draft this past offseason. (He was ultimately picked by Los Angeles.) Paolo Cardozo is clearly a work in progress for Bruce Arena, being just 21 years of age, but the Uruguayan has shown promise and the Galaxy can only hope he will become one of the staples of their midfield for years to come.
The Galaxy had a busy offseason and a considerably busy draft, which the club hopes will lead them into the MLS Cup finals, hoping to regain the title of MLS champions. Los Angeles opens up the 2011 season against Club Tijuana from Mexico on March 2.