FIRST ON SBI
Photo by ISI Photos
The Los Angeles Galaxy is set to address its defensive woes by adding one of the league’s best veteran defenders.
The Galaxy is set to acquire defender Greg Vanney from D.C. United, sources with knowledge of the deal told SBI on Friday. Details of the trade were not made available.
The acquisition helps Los Angeles address a defensive need that grew more dire after the surprise retirement of central defender Ty Harden. Sources told SBI on Thursday evening that Harden has retired to work for a charitable organization after playing just one season in MLS.
Vanney served as arguably the best defender on the D.C. United back-line last season but proved expendable after DC acquired defenders Gonzalo Peralta and Gonzalo Martinez this off-season. DC managed to pull off a second trade involving a player it had no intention of keeping, having already dealt Christian Gomez to Colorado for a designated player slot and first-round draft pick in 2009.
Vanney began his MLS career in Los Angeles, spending six seasons with the Galaxy before moving to French club Bastia, where he became the first American to play in the French first division. He returned to MLS in 2005 with FC Dallas. A stint with Colorado lasted just nine games in 2007 before he was traded to D.C.
Harden’s retirement, which is the pending development we hinted at in Thurday’s Morning Ticker, had left the Galaxy in a desperate state because his combination of ability and a low salary made him ideal for the cash-strapped Galaxy, which has more than half its salary cap tied up in David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Carlos Ruiz. Harden started 24 games for the Galaxy in 2007.
According to West Coast sources, Harden told the Galaxy that he had lost his passion for the game and decided that he had lost the desire to continuing pursuing his professional soccer career.
As if Harden’s shock retirement weren’t bad enough, the Galaxy has also grown concerned with the form of Portuguese defender Abel Xavier, who has struggled in preaseason. According to sources, the Galaxy has been impressed with the form of rookie defenders Sean Franklin and Julian Valentin. The No. 4 pick in the 2008 MLS Draft, Franklin appears to have staked his claim to the starting right back slot.