GALAXY: Sarvas the prize as roster grows
The Galaxy made the deepest plunge in Major League Soccer's second-stage re-entry draft, grabbing the rights to four veterans in positions Bruce Arena said the club needed depth and keeping the rights to two defenders whose options had been declined.
But the biggest acquisition the Galaxy coach/general manager mentioned in Monday's post-draft teleconference isn't official. Yet.
Arena said L.A., indeed, has signed Brazilian midfielder Marcelo Sarvas from Costa Rican power Alajuelense. Sarvas, 30, last week told Costa Rican website Al Pie del Deporte that he had agreed to a two-year deal with the Galaxy.
Asked about Sarvas, Arena first hesitated and asked the Galaxy's media director where the club stood on an announcement. Then he said: “We've signed that player, and we will in the next day or two get out a release on him. He's a good, experienced, two-way midfielder I think is going to help our team.”
So, in theory, will goalkeeper Jon Conway, defenders Andrew Boyens and Chris Leitch, and forward Pat Noonan, whose rights were acquired during Monday's draft. The Galaxy also reacquired the rights to defenders Frankie Hejduk and Dasan Robinson.
“Our selections were based simply on covering some positions, and as you know the rules, we have seven days to reach agreement with the players,” Arena said. “Whether we do or not remains to be seen. What we were able to do is select players in some positions we believe we need cover for. They're all veteran players, they have experience, and they're good players for the locker room. At the end of the day, if we get some of them or all of them, they'll all be a positive asset for our team.”
The Galaxy took Boyens, 28, a tall central defender from New Zealand who played in a dozen league games last season for Chivas USA, with the fifth selection of the first round. Leitch, 32, an outside back who has spent the past three seasons in San Jose, was taken at the end of the second round.
By then everybody else was done, and Arena added Noonan, 31, from Seattle and Conway, 34, from Chicago, then grabbed the rights to Hejduk, a reserve outside back for L.A. last season, and Robinson, a center back whom L.A. acquired in a trade from Toronto FC in September.
The Galaxy, which last year selected Juan Pablo Angel in the re-entry draft, declined options on Hejduk's contract, worth $96,000, and on Robinson's, for $97,500, and will look to sign both at a savings. They also are negotiating a new deal with forward Adam Cristman, who pulled out of the re-entry process after his option (on a $42,000 contract) was declined. Arena said no decision has been made on re-signing Jovan Kirovski, who also withdrew from the process when his option was declined.
Noonan played for Arena with the U.S. national team. Leitch and Conway were on Arena's roster during his 2006-07 tenure with the New York Red Bulls.
Sarvas, who began his pro career with Corinthians and played for clubs in Sweden and Poland before signing with Alajuelense last January, is a significant addition to the Galaxy, especially with David Beckham's status uncertain.
“He's played against us twice this year [in the CONCACAF Champions League],” Arena said. “Good player. Good passer, experienced, a two-way midfielder. I think he's going to be a good addition.”
Chivas USA, which held the fourth selection, passed in the draft. Its four players on the list not taken -- goalkeeper Zach Thornton, midfielders Simon Elliott and Mariano Trujillo, and forward Chukwudi Chijindu -- become free agents.
Two local players, Vancouver's Peter Vagenas (Pasadena/St. Francis HS and UCLA) and Portland's Rodrigo Lopez (Harbor City), also were undrafted and became free agents.
Here's the full draft (clubs dropped out when they passed, as most did during the first round and all but the Galaxy had done by the third round):
1. Seattle: D Marc Burch (D.C. United)
2. New England: F Nate Jaqua (Seattle)
8. Chicago: F/M Kheli Dube (New England)
13. Colorado: M Baggio Husidic (Chicago)
18. Galaxy: D Andrew Boyens (Chivas USA)
21. New England: M Clyde Simms (D.C. United)
23. Colorado: D Hunter Freeman (Houston)
24. Galaxy: D Chris Leitch (San Jose)
27. Galaxy: F Pat Noonan (Seattle)
28. Galaxy: G Jon Conway (Chicago)
29. Galaxy: D Dasan Robinson (Galaxy)
30. Galaxy: D Frankie Hejduk (Galaxy)