Trips to Florida, Costa Rica and possibly Mexico lie in the Galaxy's immediate future, but not necessarily for all its players.
With Major League Soccer's 2000 draft less than a month away, Galaxy Coach Sigi Schmid and assistant Ralph Perez are working to move up in the first round.
That could mean a trade or trades before the draft is held in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Feb. 6. Los Angeles, as the 1999 league runner-up to Washington D.C. United, has the 11th pick.
"We would be happy if a couple of deals fell into place and we would maybe get two picks in the top 10," Sergio del Prado, the Galaxy general manager, said.
One prime trade candidate is defender Steve Jolley, who made it clear in 1999 that he was not happy coming off the bench.
"We're not looking to move any full-time starters," Del Prado said.
Meanwhile, talks between the league, which owns all player contracts, and Galaxy starters Carlos Hermosillo and Kevin Hartman are progressing slower than had been expected.
Hermosillo and MLS are described as "pretty far apart" in salary negotiations. The veteran Mexican striker is asking for a sum that would cause the Galaxy salary-cap difficulties. MLS teams each operate under a $1.7-million cap.
Compounding that problem, Hartman probably will receive a significant raise after having been named MLS goalkeeper of the year in 1999 and setting a league record for the lowest goals-against average.
"Whatever [league officials] do, it's going to have an impact," Del Prado said. "So it would serve two purposes if we were to move a couple of guys for a couple of first-round picks."
Former Galaxy coach Octavio Zambrano, under whom Jolley was a starter, is coach of the New York/New Jersey MetroStars and might be interested in acquiring Jolley.
Or he could stay in the Phil Anschutz fold by going to another of the Anschutz-owned teams, the Chicago Fire or Colorado Rapids.
League officials would be reluctant to allocate another top foreign player to the Galaxy if talks with Hermosillo broke down. That could mean the league would be without a Mexican player, an unacceptable situation in a city with Los Angeles' demographics.
"We're fighting that one," Del Prado said. "We feel that this market deserves another marquee player."
The Galaxy opens a two-week training camp, along with the other 11 MLS teams, in Florida on Feb. 5. The team then travels to Costa Rica for a four-team tournament in San Jose from Feb. 21-28 that also includes Costa Rican clubs Alajuela and Saprissa, along with either the Fire or a Mexican first division team.
After that, the Galaxy will either return to Los Angeles or head for Mexico.
"We're hoping to play a couple more matches [in Tabasco or Guadalajara]," Del Prado said. "Or there's an outside chance that we'll throw together a tournament that we would host and bring in a couple of teams [from Mexico]."
A CHANCE FOR REVENGE
The league will release its 2000 schedule Tuesday, and it appears the Galaxy will have an early opportunity to get back at D.C. United after losing last season's championship game to Washington in November.
The tentative schedule shows the Galaxy opening at the Rose Bowl on March 18 against Colorado, then traveling to D.C. United for a nationally televised game March 25.
The latter game will be the first of four between the early favorites to win the Western and Eastern conference titles.
D.C. United defeated the Galaxy, 2-0, in the 1999 final Nov. 21 at Foxboro [Mass.] Stadium, in a game in which Galaxy defender Robin Fraser suffered a broken collarbone when he was knocked to the ground from behind by D.C. United's Roy Lassiter.
"Robin is doing well," Del Prado said. "He didn't need to have surgery, so he's in great shape and is working hard on his conditioning. He's been running. By the beginning of the season, he'll definitely be ready."
PREPARING FOR IRAN
While Fraser is temporarily sidelined, three other Galaxy players from the U.S. national team pool--Hartman, Cobi Jones and Clint Mathis--are in camp in Claremont under U.S. Coach Bruce Arena and his newly named assistant, Dave Sarachan.
Sarachan, 45, was an assistant with D.C. United for the last two seasons. Before that, he had coached Cornell for nine seasons and had been an assistant to Arena at the University of Virginia.
Arena's 34-player squad is preparing for its Jan. 16 match against Iran at the Rose Bowl, a game for which 35,000 tickets have been sold.
The Iranians arrived in California last week and will play Mexico at the Oakland Coliseum today and Ecuador at the Los Angeles Coliseum on Wednesday at 9 p.m. in preparation for their game against the Americans.
Wednesday's game will be preceded by a 7 p.m. match between Mexico and Guatemala, which also plays Armenia at the L.A. Coliseum today at 4 p.m.
Mexico Coach Manuel LaPuente is using the California trip to work in new players and none from his FIFA Confederations Cup-winning team or his Copa America team are on the roster for the game at the Coliseum.
FLYING START FOR U.S. WOMEN