Transaction analysis: Saunders and Buddle leave

Kevork Djansezian

The LA Galaxy allowed their starting goalkeeper to walk, and one of their most respected forwards to leave in a trade to Colorado. Did it pay off for them in 2013?

The LA Galaxy allowed their starting goalkeeper Josh Saunders to walk, and one of their most respected forwards (at least at one time) in Edson Buddle to leave in a trade to Colorado. It's time to look at weather it paid off for them in 2013.

Forward Edson Buddle: Shortly after the contract renewal period, Edson Buddle moved to the Colorado Rapids in a trade. The forward became allocation money and a 2013 Supplemental Draft pick. That pick became Andy Reimer who was released the same day as two Brazilian trialists before the season began.

So ultimately Buddle became an open roster spot and some allocation money. Hoffman, Zardes, and Rugg are the new forwards brought in since then so it's hard to argue that the Galaxy have been able to upgrade from Buddle. Zardes has matched Buddle's goal production from last year, and Buddle has only notched five this year and is not a lock as one of Colorado's starting forwards.

Transaction analysis: Buddle may never return to the form that almost had him the Golden Boot in 2010 and which got him consideration for the World Cup squad. If one of Hoffman or Rugg becomes a contributor to the club then consider the transaction a success.

Goalkeeper Josh Saunders: Saunders was one of four players signed to contracts in March of 2009 just before the season began in earnest; the other three being A.J. DeLaGarza, Yohance Marshall, and Kyle Patterson. Saunders had played with the Galaxy on loan in 2008, and became valuable as Donovan Ricketts suffered injuries during the 2009 MLS Cup and midway through the 2011 MLS season.

Arena traded Ricketts to Montreal and Saunders was the no.1 keeper in 2012. Saunders' Galaxy contract was allowed to officially lapse in February of 2013 and he signed on with Real Salt Lake to be their backup for Nick Rimando.

The initial replacement for Saunders was a failure, Carlo Cudicini didn't face many shots but those he did he let in at an alarming rate (a save percentage of 57% had him perilously close to being as effective as flipping a coin every time a player got a shot on target.)

It took until Jaime Penedo came in during the summer transfer window that Josh Saunders' absence was finally properly delt with. The 43% win percentage under Carlo Cudicini nearly torpedoed the Galaxy season, and as a result hasn't even been seen on the bench since he lost the starting job. He'll likely quietly retire from the game at the end of the year.

Transaction analysis: The selection of Cudicini as Saunders' replacement certainly hindered the first half of the Galaxy season. However, the reality was that Saunders was a backup keeper asked to start full time and finding a suitable replacement always had to be on the agenda.

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