The Galaxy traded veteran forward Edson Buddle to the Colorado Rapids. (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated…)
The Galaxy lost a veteran forward Friday when it traded Edson Buddle to the Colorado Rapids. But it also gained a veteran midfielder and a solid goalkeeper, selecting Houston's Colin Clark and Columbus' Will Hesmer with its first two picks in Major League Soccer's reentry draft.
Under the rules of the reentry draft teams are allowed to select players who are out-of-contract or have had their options declined by their current teams. Teams pick in reverse order of their finish in the most recent season.
Buddle, 31, is the fourth-leading scorer in franchise history with 42 goals in 87 regular-season appearances. But he missed 15 games last summer after undergoing surgery on his right knee. In exchange for Buddle the Rapids gave the Galaxy allocation money and the team's first-round pick in next year's supplemental draft.
A few hours before that deal was announced the Galaxy traded a future pick and an international roster spot to Chivas USA to move up 17 spots in Friday's draft, where it picked the 28-year-old Clark, who has played in 127 MLS games with Colorado and Houston. The team then made Hesmer the first pick of Round 2. The Galaxy now has seven days to extend contract offers to both players. Clark had a base salary of $105,427 with Houston last season while Hesmer made $170,000 with the Crew.
"In both cases it's to give us experienced players in their particular positions," Galaxy Coach and General Manager Bruce Arena said. "Obviously right now we have a little bit of a void in the midfield."
The two-time defending MLS champion Galaxy is hoping Clark can shore up a midfield that has already lost David Beckham and Christian Wilhelmsson and may also lose Landon Donovan, Mike Magee and Juninho this off-season. Beckham announced his retirement from MLS two months ago and Donovan says he's uncertain about his soccer future. The Galaxy said it is not planning on extending its contract with Wilhelmsson, while the contracts of both Magee and Juninho -- on loan from his Brazilian club -- will expire at the end of the year.
"Colin's an experienced player in the league. And we're hopeful that he can come in and add something different to our team," Arena said. "That's an area where we've got to focus on and add some depth.
"But at the same time I feel pretty good where we're at, and we're just going to move forward."
Josh Saunders, the Galaxy's top keeper last season, will also be out of contract at the end of the year, and the addition of Hesmer gives the team insurance in goal. Hesmer started 62 times in 2010 and 2011, posting 19 shutouts. But he didn't play a minute last season after undergoing surgery on his right hip.
Earlier this fall the Galaxy had expressed interest in obtaining goalkeeper Dan Kennedy in a trade with Chivas USA. It's unclear how the addition with Hesmer will affect those plans.
Chivas USA did not make a pick in the four-round draft but it did lose a player when Toronto FC spent the first pick of the day on former national team defender Danny Califf, 32, who had come to Chivas in a trade with Philadelphia early last season.
The Galaxy also lost two players; the New England Revolution selected forward Chad Barrett -- on loan to Valerenga of Norway -- with the fourth overall pick, while the San Jose Earthquakes took defender Bryan Jordan with the only selection of the third round.
One other player of note who may be changing teams after Friday's draft is Conor Casey, the leading scorer in Colorado Rapids' history. He was taken by the Philadelphia Union in the first round.
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