[MLS TRANSACTIONS]More than a decade after first drawing notice from MLS by banging in goals for UC Santa Barbara, striker Rob Friend has found a home within the league.
The Galaxy announced Monday it had signed the 6-foot-5 Canadian international forward, who scored 31 goals in two seasons for the Gauchos and in 2003 bypassed MLS to play in Norway, the Netherlands and Germany.
MLS acquired him on a free transfer from German club 1860 Munich, for which he scored one goal in 10 Bundesliga 2 (second division) appearances during the current season while on loan from Eintracht Frankfurt. He scored four goals in 14 games with TSV in the second half of the 2012-13 season.
“The addition of Rob Friend to our roster brings a different dimension to our attack,” said Galaxy general manager and head coach Bruce Arena in a statement. “Rob is a veteran player with a scoring pedigree and we are excited to bolster our roster by bringing him to L.A.”
(Friend was drafted by Chicago in the fourth round of the 2003 MLS SuperDraft but since he never signed an MLS contract those rights lapsed at the end of 2004.)
Friend is a target striker with experience, which the team has lacked since it traded Edson Buddle to Colorado more than a year ago. His abilities complement those of Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan, either of which can play as a striker or second forward.
The Galaxy has juggled pieces of its forward line during the offseason. Jose Villarreal joined Mexican club Cruz Azul on loan last month and Brazilian forward Samuel, 22, has been acquired on loan from Fluminense. Jack McBean, 19, missed a good chunk of the 2013 season (21 games, 10 starts, two goals, two assists) after fracturing his left collarbone and in December trained for two months in England with Wolverhampton and Blackburn.
Friend, 32, debuted for Canada in 2003 and has scored five goals in 32 international appearances, the last of which came in 2011. He started his European stint in Norway with Moss and also played for Molde, with which he won the Norwegian Cup in 2006.
After stints in the Netherlands with Heerenveen and Heracles, he moved to Germany and scored seven goals in 24 Bundesliga games for Borussia Moenchengladbach in 2008-09. After another season with Moenchengladbach he returned to the second division with Hertha Berlin, which he helped gain promotion back to the Bundesliga in 2011.