Galaxy select striker Angel in MLS Re-Entry Draft

i-5af576f9a25f7c5e002cbc07efb4e8d6-Angelsalute.jpgHave the Galaxy given up their pursuit of Ronaldinho?

That would appear to be the case after Coach Bruce Arena, who has a penchant for picking up known quantities, selected veteran striker Juan Pablo Angel, right, who Arena formerly coached at Red Bull New York, in today’s MLS Re-Entry Draft.

Angel will apparently provide the striking partner for Edson Buddle the Galaxy have clearly lacked the past couple of years, assuming the Galaxy can come to contract terms with the former Aston Villa frontman.

Regular readers of this blog will know it’s a move I have lobbied for and a big majority of you agreed with in a recent poll conducted here.

The Galaxy also picked up New York utility man Luke Sassano, who made just three MLS apperances last season after undergoing surgery to reconstruct his right ankle.

Chivas USA, its defensive failings in central defense all too apparent last season, will give veteran Jimmy Conrad a chance to make the position his own. It’s a risk, though: Conrad has lost more than a step or two, which cost him his place in the U.S. defense during World Cup qualifying.

Incidentally, the Galaxy just announced that Arena will host a conference call with reporters in a few minutes to discuss Angel’s selection, so check back for updates.

Updated

“We think he’s a very fine forward,” Arena said, adding he believed Angel would become the Galaxy’s next designated player. “I was part of bringing him to the league in 2006 in New York. We’re hopeful we can reach an agreement and he can become a member of the LA Galaxy. We’re not going to be acquiring Juan to play five years for the LA Galaxy, but Juan has two or three good years left in him. … He’s very interested in coming to LA.”

Arena said Angel would provide an appropriate foil for Edson Buddle:

“I do believe the two of those forwards could play well together. Juan has proved in his last four years in MLS he can score goals. He’s very good in front of goal, he can hold the ball up. Although Edson’s similar (in playing style) I think they will be a good duo if we can get them on the field together.”

Arena said the move for Angel is no indication other big-name players – such as Landon Donovan – could depart the club.

And he declined to comment whether this meant the Galaxy’s rumored interest in Ronaldinho is over:

“I don’t believe we’ve stated publicly anything about this player,” he said. “I don’t think it’s professional or ethically correct to state we’re in pursuit of another player who is under contract to another club.”

Updated: Sassano’s rights traded for Hejduk’s

Sassano wasn’t a Galaxy player long and now LA has the rights to another veteran MLS defender. Here’s an update:

Following the completion of the Re-Entry Process, the Galaxy traded the rights to Sassano to Sporting Kansas City in exchange for the rights to Frankie Hejduk, who Sporting had selected with the #8 pick in the first round of the Re-Entry Process from Columbus.

The club now has seven days to extend contract offers with the two players. If the Galaxy cannot reach an agreement with either player in that time, the club will hold the right of first refusal for that player in MLS.

Hejduk, 36, an MLS original drafted in 1996, has played made more than 200 league appearances for Tampa Bay and the Columbus Crew and won 85 U.S. caps.

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group columnist and blogger Nick Green writes about soccer at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at www.insidesocal.com/soccer and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at www.insidesocal.com/beer. Cheers!