The Los Angeles Galaxy didn't have David Beckham or Landon Donovan for its first competitive match of the new year, but that didn't stop Bruce Arena's squad from getting off on a winning note.
Goals from Edson Buddle and Jovan Kirovski were enough to help LA post a 2-0 victory against Japanese club Oita Trinita in Pan-Pacific Championship action at Home Depot Center on Wednesday night. The victory moves the Galaxy to Saturday's Pan-Pacific final against Suwon Blue Wings, which downed Shandong Luneng Taishan FC, 1-0, on Wednesday.
Here are some other stories to get your day started:
Sounders sign defender
The Seattle Sounders continued their aggressive and impressive roster building on Wednesday with the addition of Colombia defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado. The former Deportivo Cali defender joins former club teammate Fredy Montero on a Sounders squad that is looking less and less like an expansion team with every signing made by Sigi Schmid and Co.
The addition of Hurtado to a back-line that already includes Tyrone Marshall, Tyson Wahl, Taylor Graham and James Riley should help the Sounders field a stronger defense than we have seen from recent MLS expansion teams.
Richards gets big bump
The terms of Red Bulls midfielder Dane Richards' new contract have yet to be released but sources tell SBI that the Jamaican winger will go from making senior roster minimum ($33,000 in 2008) to a six-figure salary, a figure at least three times higher than what he earned last season.
The pay raise comes on the heels of Richards' impressive showing in the playoffs, and overall strong form in the second half of the 2008 season. Richards, who had two years remaining on his original deal, had been pushing for a new contract since after the 2007 season, but a knee injury in spring training last year put those talks on the back burner.
In other Red Bulls news, sources tell SBI that a situation could be brewing between the Red Bulls and second-round draft pick Babajide Ogunbiyi. Apparently Ogunbiyi will only sign with the Red Bulls for senior contract offer and will not accept one of the team's developmental roster spots and the miniscule salary that goes with it. Ogunbiyi is slated to join the Red Bulls for training next month after completing his studies at Santa Clara.
News & Notes
Rumors have resurfaced linking Toronto FC with FC Dallas defender Adrian Serioux, but sources tell SBI those talks have long since ended. TFC is poised to make one final flurry of player signings before the start of the new season. …The Chicago Fire tied Mexican club Queretaro, 1-1, in exhibition action in Mexico on Wednesday. Justin Mapp provided the Fire's goal. …FC Dallas is considering signing Argentine playmaker Walter Gaitan. … Pete Byers didn't have to wait long to find work after seeing his contract talks with the San Jose Earthquakes fall apart. The Antiguan striker signed a two-year deal with the Montreal Impact. … The Houston Dynamo tied Swedish club Hammarby, 0-0, in exhibition action in Carson, California on Wednesday.
That's all for now. What do you think of the above stories? Did the Galaxy impress you last night (or were you already asleep by the time the game started?) Are the Seattle Sounders starting to scare you with all of the impressive signings the are making? Think the Red Bulls will sign Ogunbiyi?
Share your thoughts below.