Los Angeles Soccer: Stephen Posa
The Galaxy made their first cuts of preseason Monday, releasing second-year defenders Ryan Thomas and Dustin McCarty and dropping supplemental draft Stephen Posa from camp.
Thomas, out of Stanford, and McCarty, from North Carolina, were supplemental picks in 2011. They were the least-used rookies last year and faced an uphill fight to make this year's roster, with head coach Bruce Arena bulking his list to 37 players, including non-contracted invitees, with room for no more than 30 as of March 1.
Thomas (Claremont/Claremont HS), a left back who played on the left side of midfield in two game appearances this preseason, saw action in one Major League Soccer match as a rookie, playing the final 13 minutes in L.A.'s loss at Houston in the Oct. 23 regular-season finale. He also appeared in friendlies against Real Madrid and the Philippines' national team and scored a goal with an assist in eight MLS Reserve League starts.
McCarty, the younger brother of New York Red Bulls midfielder (and sometimes-U.S. national-teamer) Dax McCarty, played in friendlies against Manchester City and the Philippines and in eight MLS Reserve League matches. He had played in two of the Galaxy's three preseason games after dealing with a hamstring injury at the start of camp.
Posa lost a numbers battle in an increasingly deep and dynamic Galaxy attack. The returns of forward Edson Buddle and midfielder Juninho and acquisition of midfielder Kyle Nakazawa, all in the past two weeks, left no room for the San Diego State product. Posa was energetic (and won a penalty kick) in two preseason-game appearances.
The Galaxy went after local talent with three of their five selections in Tuesday's MLS Supplemental Draft, including a Cal State Northridge midfielder who impressed at the pre-draft combine.
Rafael Garcia (Canoga Park/Canoga Park HS) was taken at the end of the second round, 38th in the draft (and 76th overall, factoring in last week's SuperDraft), bolstering depth in the middle. Well, at least for the future.
“I think the challenge for these players is to make our roster,” said Galaxy head coach/general manager Bruce Arena, who nabbed San Diego forward/midfielder Stephen Posa and San Diego State right back Justin Davies in the fourth round. “I can't even look that far ahead to see if [any of them] are going to step on the field with our first team. The initial challenge is to make the roster.”
Arena took Bradley's Bryan Gaul, a 6-foot-5 forward-turned-defender, with his first pick, 19th overall, and Brazilian attacker Yuri Gorentzvaig, 21, who arrives from Flamengo system after spending the previous season with Corinthians.
Gaul, whose little sister, Alexa, is a U.S. youth international, scored 23 goals the past two seasons at Bradley, but he was used primarily in the back at the combine. That's where the Galaxy, in need of defensive cover, see his future.
“He's left-footed, can play center back or left back, and we're going to look at him in that position,” Arena said. “Hopefully he'll be able to adapt. He's a kid we think has a chance. That's why we drafted him.”
Garcia, just 5-6, is a defensive-oriented central midfielder who grew up a Galaxy fan. He was a four-year starter for the Matadors and a first-team All-Big West Conference selection in 2011.