The MLS combine is underway and the MLS draft is just days away. The Galaxy are a relatively complete team. However the team still has a couple of needs to address, most notably central midfield and striker. The draft has been reduced to 3 rounds and the Galaxy have their own pick in the first two rounds, 16th and 34th overall and have Real Salt Lake’s third round pick which is 50th overall. So with those three picks the Galaxy need to focus on the middle of the field.
Greg Berhalter has decided to return as a player/assistant coach, moving center back down on the list of priorities. They have Omar Gonzalez, A.J. De La Garza, and Yohance Marshall at center back in addition to Berhalter. Sean Franklin can also play center back as he did his first season in the league. This may happen more, as the team now has Frankie Hejduk to play right back. So it may not be a huge need, but depth is never a bad thing.
Forward is also a need, after trading away Tristan Bowen, and not yet having signed Juan Pablo Angel the team needs a forward, who can provide some spark, as both Buddle and Angel are target forwards, a speedy forward would be an ideal fit for the team. Someone who can come off the bench and provide a spark at the end of games.
Also, Dema Kovalenko’s option on his contract was not picked up, while no other team has yet to sign Dema, he will probably not be brought due to the cost of his contract. Dema was not selected in the re-entry draft and immediately became a gree agent. The team still has Chris Birchall at the defensive midfielder position, and Michael Stephens played central midfield while at UCLA. However a lot depends on whether the Galaxy can extend the loan of Juninho. Without Juninho, Attacking midfield jumps to the top of the list. The team desperately needs depth in the center of the midfield and will have to devote one or two selections to the central midfield position.
There are multiple options in the draft that are detailed below. The team may look for a Generation Addidas player, because their contract will not count against the salary cap.
Justin Meram- Michigan- Meram had an excellent end of season run that has seen him rise tremendously on draft boards. Should be a mid to late first round selection. He is strong and has very good instincts.
Jason Herrick- Maryland- A quality finisher coming from the ACC, he has great experience, and could even be slotted into the midfield.
Corey Hertzog- Penn State- likely to be picked prior to 16th overall, but would be a great pick if he lasted until the end of the first round. He is fast and a good finisher.
C.J. Sapong- James Madison- Sapong is an athletic specimen who is both fast and powerful. He is not great on the ball, but could be developed into a good striker. He would be an excellent 2nd round selection for the Galaxy.
Cole Grossman-Duke- Grossman is an excellent passer and a tireless worker who is currently projected as a late first or early second round pick.
Michael Farfan-UNC- A very talented attacking midfielder who plays withdrawn and puts through balls. Had a very poor 2009 season, but followed that with a great 2010, will most likely be off the board before the Galaxy pick.
Brayan Martinez- Seton Hall- left footed attacking player who would be looked at in the 3rd round most likely.
Stephen McCarthy-UNC- He is a strong two-way player who at 6’4” is a strong aerial threat. He is not the quickest player, but would be a great selection late in the first round.
Bobby Warshaw-Stanford- Played as a defender at Stanford but is probably better suited as a defensive midfielder. He is very physical and has a good skill set. He is currently projected as an early second round pick.
These players each bring unique qualities to the table, and the Galaxy will be looking at central midfielders and strikers predominantly for depth purposes, but potentially a starter if Juninho does not return.