Galaxy selects Angel, Crew picks Cunningham

[MLS] Veteran scorers and defenders dominated the list of 11 players picked in Stage 2 of the MLS Re-Entry Draft Wednesday. Juan Pablo Angel, who starred for the New York Red Bulls for four seasons, was selected by the Los Angeles Galaxy, and Jeff Cunningham, second on the all-time MLS scoring list, was picked by his former club, Columbus.

Angel, Cunningham and Josh Wolff are the primary offensive players selected; Jimmy Conrad, Frankie Hejduk, Cory Gibbs, Tyrone Marshall and Ryan Cochrane dot the list of defenders taken. Also claimed were keeper Chris Seitz, and midfielders Luke Sassano and Fred.

The teams who made selections on Wednesday now have seven days to tender an offer to their respective players. If an offer is made and no agreement is reached, the club will hold the right of first refusal on the player’s services in MLS, since none of the players are under contract, with one exception.

In the case of Gibbs, who played the 2010 season in New England – a deal has already been struck. The Fire announced on its Web site shortly after taking Gibbs with the seventh overall pick that a deal had been consummated. Teams can also trade rights to the players they’ve selected, and that, too, has already occurred.

The Galaxy made the most moves. It was one of two teams to select two players – Angel and Sassano – and also swung several trades. It traded up, with Houston, to take Angel with the fifth overall selection, and later in the first round also selected Angel’s former Red Bull teammate, the midfielder Sassano, with its own pick.

Los Angeles then traded Sassano to Kansas City in exchange for Southern California native and former UCLA Bruin Hejduk, who’d been nabbed in the Re-Entry Draft. During the day Los Angeles also sent its first Homegrown signing, forward Tristan Bowen, down the Home Depot Center corridors to Chivas USA, which is flush with allocation money as a non-playoff team and swapped some of it for Bowen.

Two years ago, at age 17, Bowen became the first MLS academy player to sign an MLS professional contract. He scored two goals in 17 games last season.

Not known is whether Angel -- who scored 61 goals for the Red Bulls in four seasons -- will become the Galaxy’s third designated player, sign a non-DP deal, or be traded to another team. By moving up, the Galaxy denied Toronto FC a chance to grab Angel.

David Beckham and Landon Donovan occupy two of the Galaxy’s three DP slots, and if he signs with the Galaxy, Angel would also re-unite with Coach Bruce Arena, who was in charge of New York when Angel came to MLS in 2007 and put up his league-best season totals of 19 goals and five assists.

With the allocation money it receives from Chivas USA, under changes regarding Designated Players adopted earlier this year, the Galaxy can buy down some of Angel’s salary whether or not he is a DP. His base salary this past season was $1.62 million.

According to Arena, the Galaxy is leaning in the DP direction, though not necessarily at that salary.

“I would think there’s a chance he's certainly going to be a Designated Player,” Arena said. “We haven’t gotten into those discussions. There are other mechanisms in the league that allow for a player not to be a Designated Player. My guess is if we sign him, he’ll likely have that designation.”

If he becomes the Galaxy's third DP, the Galaxy will have to pay a $250,000 tax imposed on such players.

Wolff and Conrad, teammates at Kansas City the past seven seasons, were the first two players selected. Wolff went to D.C. United with the No. 1 overall pick, and Conrad – who was hoping to join a major-market team – went next to Chivas USA, which has yet to name a new head coach and was roiled again this week with the news that vice president Stephen Hamilton has resigned.

If Cunningham signs with the Crew, he’ll rejoin one of the five MLS teams he’s played with while amassing 132 goals, second all-time to Jaime Moreno, who was one of 21 players not selected in Stage 2.

Cunningham led FC Dallas in the regular season with 11 goals and added one more in the playoffs. He played his first seven MLS seasons in Columbus; in 208 games he scored 62 regular-season goals, and added four more in the playoffs.

Along with Moreno, prominent players not selected include Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Dema Kovaleno, Nick Garcia, Adrian Serioux , Richard Mulrooney, Carey Talley, Pat Onstad and Pete Vagenas. They and the rest of the 21 players who passed through Stage 2 unclaimed are free to negotiate with any team on a first-come, first-served basis.

Former U.S. U-23 goalkeeper Seitz is changing teams again. Philadelphia acquired him last year from Real Salt Lake in a trade, and after playing 23 games for the Union, he’s on the move again -- to FC Dallas via Seattle, which claimed him in the Re-Entry Draft and passed him on to FCD in exchange for a 2012 SuperDraft pick.

Along with the Galaxy, the only other team to claim two players was New England. The Revs used the No. 4 overall pick (after Philly passed at No. 3) on Cochrane, addressing a central back line that looked very porous for much of the season, and bolstered its flank attack by selecting Fred, who’d gone to the Union last year in the expansion draft.

Colorado also went for defensive help in the wake of a trade three weeks ago that sent center back Julien Baudet and left back Danny Earls to Seattle in exchange for the rights to Vagenas. The Rapids picked up Marshall, a member of two championship teams with the Galaxy (2002, 2005) and a defensive keystone of Seattle in its first two seasons but a backup in 2010.

D.C. United -- Josh Wolff
UNDER CONTRACT: Player has been added to D.C. United’s roster

Chivas USA -- Jimmy Conrad
OUT OF CONTRACT: Chivas USA will have 7 days to extend an offer

New England Revolution -- Ryan Cochrane
OUT OF CONTRACT: New England Revolution will have 7 days to extend an offer

LA Galaxy -- Juan Pablo Angel
OUT OF CONTRACT: LA Galaxy will have 7 days to extend an offer

Chicago Fire -- Cory Gibbs
UNDER CONTRACT: Player has been added to Chicago Fire's roster

Sporting Kansas City -- Frankie Hejduk (rights trade to LA Galaxy)
OUT OF CONTRACT: LA Galaxy will have 7 days to extend an offer

Seattle Sounders FC -- Chris Seitz (traded to FC Dallas)
UNDER CONTRACT: Player has been added to FC Dallas’s roster

Columbus Crew -- Jeff Cunningham
OUT OF CONTRACT: Columbus Crew will have 7 days to extend an offer

LA Galaxy -- Luke Sassano (rights traded to Sporting Kansas City)
OUT OF CONTRACT: Kansas City will have 7 days to extend an offer

Colorado Rapids -- Tyrone Marshall
OUT OF CONTRACT: Colorado Rapids will have 7 days to extend an offer

New England Revolution -- Fred
OUT OF CONTRACT: New England Revolution will have 7 days to extend an offer

1 comment about "Galaxy selects Angel, Crew picks Cunningham".
  1. beautiful game, December 16, 2010 at 1:49 p.m.

    JP Angel is a better fit with the Galaxy even though his proven scoring skills are on the decline.

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