Galaxy sign free agent midfielder Jeff Larentowicz

Jeff Larentowicz  (Photo courtesy Chicago Fire)

Jeff Larentowicz (Photo courtesy Chicago Fire)

The L.A. Galaxy announced the signing of free agent midfielder Jeff Larentowicz on Wednesday.

“Jeff is an experienced and proven midfielder in our league,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said in a statement. “He gives our team another veteran presence on the field and in the locker room. We are excited to add Jeff to our roster and look forward to his contribution this season.”

Larentowicz, 32, figures to be the replacement for Juninho, who was transfered to Liga MX side Club Tijuana last month. Larentowicz, an 11-year MLS veteran, is part of the league’s first free agency class. The midfielder has previously played for the New England Revolution, Colorado Rapids and Chicago Fire.

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Bruce Arena talks with ExtraTime Radio on offseason changes, Omar Gonzalez, Juninho

(AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

(AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

The Galaxy’s longest offseason since the first season of the Bruce Arena era certainly hasn’t been boring. Two weeks after sending two team stalwarts to Liga MX in Omar Gonzalez and Juninho, Arena told ExtraTime Radio that the moves, while personally difficult, were part of a necessary rebuilding process after a disappointing 2015.

“None of it’s easy,” Arena said. “Every year unfortunately we lose players, there’s nothing we can do about it, but it’s all part of the business.” Continue reading

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Does the Galaxy need another aging English import like Ashley Cole?

cole What signing? You want to sign this guy, a jocular Ashley Cole seems to be asking. (AP file photo).

The possibility of former England left back Ashley Cole joining MLS and the Galaxy from Italian side Roma at the age of 35 first appeared six days ago in that paragon of journalistic credibility, The Irish Sun.

ESPN FC’s Jeff Carlisle picked up the story, closely followed by the LA Times who appeared to have pinned down usually evasive Galaxy coach Bruce Arena with a grudging admission the media reports were “reasonably accurate.”

Not so fast.

Hours later English tabloid the Daily Mail was reporting Cole was still undecided about his future.

How excited are you about the possibility of Cole, who has played sparingly since joining Roma, joining 35-year-old Steven Gerrard in the Galaxy lineup next season? (Ahem).

Let’s hope someone tells him about the heat, humidity and long road trips. Don’t want that to be a nasty surprise like it was for Stevie, after all.

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LA Galaxy transfer Juninho to Club Tijuana

Photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez // AP

Two days after transferring Omar Gonzalez to Liga MX side C.F. Pachuca, the LA Galaxy announced another major transaction in the transfer of Brazilian midfielder Juninho to Club Tijuana.

“We thank Juninho for his contributions on and off the field during his time here,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. “We wish him the best of luck with Tijuana.”

Since joining the Galaxy in 2010 on loan from Sao Paolo, Juninho made 187 appearances with the club and 180 starts, and was one of the team’s most consistent midfielders. He earned his first MLS all-star selection in 2015. However, his role was reduced with the addition of Steven Gerrard in the summer.

Juninho’s agent Ricard Silveira told the LA Times soon after the Galaxy lost in the knockout round of the MLS playoffs that his client “likes to play for Bruce, (but) Juninho wants to be recognized, that’s for sure.”

Juninho scored 18 goals and notched 23 assists with the Galaxy, scoring four times and assisting seven goals in 2015. After Gerrard joined the squad in July, Juninho did not score in MLS play, but recorded four assists.

“It has been a privilege and an honor to have worn the LA Galaxy jersey for the past six seasons,” Juninho wrote in a statement released on social media and LAGalaxy.com. I have worn it with pride, however, it is time for me to trade in my Galaxy jersey for a new one. I’ve always welcomes the opportunity for growth and for change. To play for Club Tijuana in Mexico is a tremendous opportunity for me.”


The transfers of Gonzalez and Juninho free up considerable financial space for the Galaxy, who are undergoing a major roster reconstruction after their disappointing 2015 season. Goal.com reported that Juninho’s transfer fee was believed to be in the $1.5 million range, while Gonzalez’s was in the $750,000 range. According to data released by the MLS Players Union, Juninho was guaranteed $350,000 in 2015.

Club Tijuana is scheduled to face the Galaxy in a preseason friendly on Feb. 9 at StubHub Center in advance of the 2016 MLS season.

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100 Percent Soccer Column: Departure of LA Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez gives promoted Daniel Steres an opening on back line

steresPhoto courtesy Los Angeles Galaxy

It was a case of good timing when LA Galaxy II captain Daniel Steres sat down Monday with the Los Angeles Newspaper group to discuss his promotion to the first team the week before.

The next day Omar Gonzalez was shipped to Liga MX.

Read this week’s 100 Percent Soccer column here.

BTW: Steres was inspired by the luminary likes of Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos and Carles Puyol, a Catalan who played for Barcelona, the pride of that fiercely independent Spanish region.

Here’s why:

“I just like the tenacity that they played with,” Steres said. “I’m kind of a more calm, easy-going guy and I just like to watch them, how they get into tackles, how everything mattered with them, especially Puyol. He won every single ball, everything was just stuck in and hard and Ramos bought a little more flair.”

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LA Galaxy open season at home against DC United

MLSlogoThe LA Galaxy will open their season on March 6 at home against DC United at 7 p.m., the league announced on Tuesday. The game will cap off a full opening day schedule that features 10 matchups.

The Galaxy will play their second game on the road against the Colorado Rapids in Colorado’s home opener.

A 2015 MLS Cup rematch between Columbus and MLS Cup winners Portland highlights the opening day slate at 1:30 p.m.

A full regular season schedule will be announced on Jan. 7.

Full MLS schedule for the first day of the season.

Full MLS schedule for the first day of the season.

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LA Galaxy’s Omar Gonzalez transferred to Liga MX’s C.F. Pachuca

AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

The LA Galaxy announced the transfer of defender Omar Gonzalez to Liga MX C.F. Pachuca on Tuesday.

“We thank Omar for his contribution and dedication to this club throughout the past seven years,” head coach Bruce Arena said in a statement. “We wish Omar the best of luck with Pachuca.”

Gonzalez signed with the Mexican side Tuesday morning after the deal went through after about one week of quick negotiations, he said in an interview in Spanish with Pachuca. He also said there was an offer from the Galaxy, but he turned it down in order to sign with the Liga MX team.

The Galaxy previously expressed a commitment to keep Gonzalez for 2016, but his contract, which was bought down from designated player status with Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) in 2015, and the salary cap proved too difficult to reconcile. Gonzalez was guaranteed $1.45 million in 2015, according to MLS Players Union data. The terms of Tuesday’s deal were not announced.

Although MLS added more $800,000 of TAM this season for each team, it was still not enough for the team to buy down Gonzalez’s contract again. The transfer offers more financial flexibility for the Galaxy, who were subjected to their longest offseason in seven years after getting bounced from the MLS Cup Playoffs in the knockout stage.

“Omar is a part of our family and always part of the Galaxy family,” Galaxy president Chris Klein said in a phone interview. “We’ve had some great times with him. In the end, it’s a part of sports, it’s a part of soccer. … Omar has moved on and the Galaxy has to get to work in building up our roster and now we have more resources to do that.”

Gonzales was drafted by the Galaxy in 2009 and anchored the Galaxy backline to three MLS Cups. He was named to the MLS Best XI and earned MLS Defender of the Year honors in 2011 but had a shaky season last year, which included him not getting called up for the U.S. men’s national team for the CONCACAF Cup against Mexico.

“Leaving is never easy and change can be difficult,” Gonzalez wrote in a statement he released on Twitter and LAGalaxy.com. “However, this is an opportunity for me to continue to grow as a player and as a person.”

As the Galaxy continue to retool their roster, Klein said the team is not focused solely on one position as it gets ready for CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal play in late February and the 2016 MLS season, which opens March 6.

The team president told LAGalaxy.com previously that retaining forward Alan Gordon, who is currently out of contract, is a priority. Rumors of European interest in forward Gyasi Zardes continued during the offseason, but Goal.com reported last week that Zardes was close to re-signing with the Galaxy. Zardes said last week while visiting his high school alma mater he is fully focused on returning to the Galaxy and he has two years left with the club.

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100 Percent Soccer Column: Former Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy has “surreal” SoCal return with Galaxy

TS22-SOCCERCOL--- Carson, CALIFORNIA--1/21/13--- Staff Photo: Robert Casillas --- Chivas USA All-Star GK Dan Kennedy waves to cheering fans at practice.

TS22-SOCCERCOL— Carson, CALIFORNIA–1/21/13— Staff Photo: Robert Casillas — Chivas USA All-Star GK Dan Kennedy waves to cheering fans at practice.

Former Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy is now a member of the LA Galaxy. Read one view of what that means for the club in this week’s 100 Percent Soccer column.

Your thoughts?

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L.A. Galaxy add Galaxy II defender Daniel Steres

Galaxy2logoOne day after announcing the signing Galaxy II goalkeeper Clement Diop, the Galaxy inked last year’s Galaxy II defender Daniel Steres to a deal.

Steres was named Galaxy II Defender of the Year for two straight seasons, and started 24 matches last year. He made first-team appearances during the International Champions Cup against FC Barcelona and Club America.

Diop, a 21-year-old from France, was signed Wednesday after he made 24 appearances for Galaxy II. He kept eight shutouts during the team’s run to the USL Championship game.

The Galaxy passed in the second stage of the MLS Re-Entry Draft, which took place Thursday. Orlando City SC and the Portland Timbers were the only two teams to select players in the second stage, with Orlando picking former New England defender Kevin Alston and the Timbers taking former Houston defender Jermaine Taylor.

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LA Galaxy acquire former Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy

The LA Galaxy acquired former Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, 33, in a trade with FC Dallas on Tuesday. (Michael Owen Baker/Daily News, File)

The LA Galaxy acquired former Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, 33, in a trade with FC Dallas on Tuesday. (Michael Owen Baker/Daily News, File)

The LA Galaxy announced the acquisition of goalkeeper Dan Kennedy on Tuesday, through a trade with FC Dallas for two picks in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft.

The Galaxy sent their natural second and third round picks to Dallas in exchange for the 33-year-old goalkeeper in an effort to answer one of the club’s pressing offseason questions. Kennedy, a Fullerton, Calif., native who attended El Dorado High in Placentia and UC Santa Barbara, started 16 games for FC Dallas in 2015 after coming to the club from the now-defunct Chivas USA, but lost his starting role after a knee injury and the emergence of 20-year-old Jesse Gonzalez.

“Dan is a very good player and proven goalkeeper in our League,” LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said in a statement. “He will be a strong addition to our team both on and off the field. We look forward to him joining our roster ahead of the upcoming season.” Kennedy joins the Brian Rowe as the Galaxy’s only goalkeepers on the team’s current roster. Rowe, 27, started seven games last season and allowed nine goals in three wins, three losses and one tie. After the midseason departure of Jaime Penedo, the Galaxy brought in Donovan Ricketts to finish the season over Rowe. The team declined contract options on Rickets, along with fellow goalkeepers Andrew Wolverton and Brian Perk earlier in the offseason. Contract terms were not disclosed, per league and club policy. According to documents from the MLS Players Union, Kennedy made $233,000 in 2015, the fourth-highest salary on FC Dallas’s payroll. Kennedy is Chivas USA’s all-time leader in saves (451), shutouts (28), along with games played (144), games started (142) and minutes played (12,764).

Other offseason moves
According to the LA Times, the Galaxy are also hopeful to keep defender Omar Gonzalez and forward Alan Gordan. The Galaxy intend to restructure Gonzalez’s contract and to use the team’s newly approved $800,000 in targeted allocation money to help buy down the contract, but could still need more. Gordon is currently out of contract.

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