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Galaxy re-acquires Mathis in a trade

November 20, 2007|Grahame L. Jones | Times Staff Writer

Clint Mathis, the former U.S. national team striker who began his Major League Soccer career with the Galaxy in 1998, is back where he started.

Mathis, who turns 31 on Sunday, was acquired Monday by the Galaxy from the New York Red Bulls in exchange for a third-round selection in the 2008 MLS draft.

Meanwhile, in another development, the league awarded next season's championship game to Carson, scheduling it for the Home Depot Center on Nov. 23. The stadium also played host to the MLS Cup in 2003 and 2004.

Mathis scored six goals and assisted on two others in 28 games for the Red Bulls this season. In his nine-year MLS career, he has played in 231 regular-season and playoff games and has 64 goals and 48 assists. He also spent one year in the German Bundesliga with Hannover 96.

Jeff Agoos, a U.S. teammate of Mathis on the 2002 World Cup team and now technical director for the Red Bulls, said the trade would allow the team "more flexibility moving forward" by having a selection in each round of the draft.

As for the Galaxy, it was unclear whether Mathis was selected with longer-term goals in mind or merely to bolster the team for its two-game tour of Australia and New Zealand.

The team plays Sydney FC in Australia on Nov. 27 and the Wellington Phoenix in New Zealand on Dec. 1.

The Galaxy, which failed to reach this year's playoffs, has struggled to score in two postseason friendly games against minor league opponents, being held to a 0-0 tie by the Vancouver Whitecaps and to a 1-1 tie by the Minnesota Thunder before prevailing on penalty kicks.

The Galaxy made no indication that new Coach Ruud Gullit had anything to do with the Mathis trade, making it more likely that the deal is a stopgap move.

Mathis played 46 games for the U.S. national team between 1998 and 2005, scoring 12 goals and assisting on nine. His MLS career has taken him from the Galaxy to the then-New York/New Jersey MetroStars, Real Salt Lake, Colorado Rapids, Red Bulls and back to the Galaxy.

Mathis' best season was in 2000 when he scored 19 goals and assisted on 16 while playing for the Galaxy and the MetroStars. He will leave with the Galaxy for Australia on Friday.

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grahame.jones@latimes.com

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