Los Angeles Soccer: Luke Sassano

Galaxy still dealing, acquire Frankie Hejduk's rights

December, 15, 2010

Acquiring the rights to superstar striker Juan Pablo Angel was just the start for the Galaxy on Wednesday.

L.A., which traded a draft pick to move into position to take the Colombian forward in the second phase of Major League Soccer's re-entry draft, made two more trades, sending 19-year-old forward Tristan Bowen to Chivas USA and swapping the rights to midfielder Luke Sassano, acquired in the re-entry draft, to Kansas City for the rights to former UCLA star Frankie Hejduk.

The Galaxy must negotiate new contracts with Angel, who scored 61 MLS goals in four seasons with the New York Red Bulls, and Hejduk, an inelegant if massively energetic right back whom K.C. took from Columbus in the re-entry draft.

Bowen (Van Nuys), who made 17 apprearances (with 10 starts) and scored two goals last season for the Galaxy, was swapped for allocation money that can be used to reduce a player's salary-cap figure. It could be used to make Angel more affordable or to bring him in as something other than a Designated Player, keeping a DP spot open for the potential arrival of Brazilian star Ronaldinho.

Angel's contract with the Red Bulls was worth $1.62 million annually (with $1.918 million guaranteed compensation).

Hejduk, 36, played the last eight seasons with Columbus after stints in Germany (with Bayer Leverkusen) and Switzerland (with St. Gallen) following three seasons with the defunct Tampa Bay Mutiny. He played in the 1998 and 2002 World Cups.

Galaxy takes Juan Pablo Angel in re-entry draft

December, 15, 2010

The Galaxy made a big splash in the second phase of Major League Soccer's re-entry draft Wednesday, taking New York Red Bulls striker Juan Pablo Angel -- arguably the finest target forward ever to play in the league -- after making a trade with Houston to move up to fourth in the draft.

The 35-year-old Colombian, who joined the Red Bulls when Galaxy coach Bruce Arena was in charge in New York, has scored 61 goals in four seasons for New York.

Juan Pablo Angel
Icon SMIThe 35-year-old Colombian striker Juan Pablo Angel played the past four seasons with the New York Red Bulls.

His contract, for $1.62 million (with $1.918 million guaranteed compensation), was not renewed, and the Galaxy will be able to negotiate a new pact with the tall striker.

“In the re-entry draft, all teams are doing is acquiring rights to players,” Arena said on a teleconference Wednesday afternoon. “There's still a negotiating period to see if we can reach an agreement. … We think he's a very fine forward, and we're hopeful we can reach an agreement. …

“The reason we took him in the re-entry draft is we think we can make it work. I think Juan wants to make it work, but we have to get in some discussions this week and see if we can reach an agreement.”

The Galaxy also selected Red Bulls midfielder Luke Sassano, and Chivas USA took Kansas City central defender Jimmy Conrad (Temple City/Temple City HS and UCLA).

Galaxy midfielder Dema Kovalenko and Chivas USA midfielder Marcelo Saragosa and defender Alex Zotinca weren't drafted and become free agents. So do Colorado midfielder Peter Vagenas (Pasadena/St. Francis HS and UCLA) and Columbus midfielder Duncan Oughton (Cal State Fullerton).

Arena said he has spoken twice with Angel in recent weeks and believes a deal can be made despite the forward's stated desire to remain on the East Coast. If signed, Angel likely would be a Designated Player, which would all but end any chance of L.A. acquiring Brazilian forward Ronaldinho.

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