MLS roster construction often takes a bit of detective work. There isn't a list of LA Galaxy players who are now out of contract or on an option year, and such a list takes a series of direct questions to played suspected to be dealing with contract negotiations. After conducting exit interviews outside the locker room yesterday, we've got a greater sense of who is in danger of not returning in 2014.
From the Designated Player announcements we know that Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane, and Omar Gonzalez aren't going anywhere. A.J. DeLaGarza has told reporters that next season is his contract year, and Robbie Rogers is on a multiyear dear. The homegrown players Gyasi Zardes, Jack McBean, Jose Villarreal, and Oscar Sorto will all return.
We also got confirmation yesterday that Baggio Husidic has indeed been signed and will join the LA Galaxy in 2014. LA have held his rights after a trade with the Colorado Rapids that brought in Pablo Mastroeni (who's status is unknown). He'll have to compete this preseason for the right to start next to Juninho who is finally a contracted player and can remain in Los Angeles this offseason before returning to his central midfield position in 2014.
Sean Franklin goes back to the 2008 MLS Draft, and then signed a new deal at the end of 2011 after his four year deal was up. His two year plus an option is now at a decision point, so there's a possibility Franklin could end up in the upcoming Re-Entry Draft. One thing we learned yesterday, the option is always the club's option which is not the case in other US sports.
Acquired in the 2011 MLS Draft with a second round pick, Hector Jimenez appears to be at the end of a three year deal. He's still at the senior minimum, so it'll be interesting to see what gets negotiated in the offseason. Marcelo Sarvas apparently got a two year deal when he came over, and also needs a new contract to continue on.
Todd Dunivant's made 126 appearances for LA since coming over in a preseason 2009 deal, and he looks to be coming back for years six and seven after signing a new two year contract.
2012 MLS Draft acquisitions Rafael Garcia, Kenney Walker, Bryan Gaul, and Tommy Meyer should all return for the third year on their rookie contracts. The 2013 drafted rookies Kofi Opare, Charlie Rugg, Greg Cochrane will all return.
Jaime Penedo certainly signed for more than half a season, so he'll be back next year. [Ed: Pablo Mastroeni is out of contract.]
That's twenty-four players who's status is pretty well established.
|1. Landon Donovan||Returning|
|2. Omar Gonzaelz||Returning|
|3. Robbie Keane||Returning|
|4. A.J. DeLaGarza||Returning|
|5. Robbie Rogers||Returning|
|6. Gyasi Zardes||Returning|
|7. Oscar Sorto||Returning|
|8. Jack McBean||Returning|
|9. Jose Villarreal||Returning|
|10. Baggio Husidic||Signed|
|11. Sean Franklin||Option|
|12. Hector Jimenez||Out-of-contract|
|13. Marcelo Sarvas||Out-of-contract|
|14. Todd Dunivant||Re-Signed|
|16. Jaime Penedo||Returning|
|17. Rafael Garcia||Returning|
|18. Tommy Meyer||Returning|
|19. Kenney Walker||Returning|
|20. Kofi Opare||Returning|
|21. Bryan Gaul||Returning|
|22. Charlie Rugg||Returning|
|23. Greg Cochrane||Returning|
|24. Pablo Mastroeni||Out of Contract|
Now comes the educated guesses. Carlo Cudicini didn't make an eighteen man roster after Jaime Penedo came over, so he'll quietly retire this offseaosn. Laurent Courtois is like in the same boat as Mastroeni as LA picked up their contracts as is, and certainly thoughts of retirement will weigh heavy on their heads.
Michael Stephens just played his fourth year with the Galaxy. He's an enigma. Did he get a four year deal in 2010 as a first round pick, or is he on an extension from a three year deal? Colin Clark could be back if he signed a multi-year deal, but if it's one and an option his performance likely means he's heading back to the Re-Entry draft.
Backup goalkeepers Brian Rowe and Brian Perk finish off the roster, with Perk signing a new deal before 2013 kicked off and Rowe signing on mid-2012.
There could be more casualties, but for sure Franklin, Sarvas, Jimenez, and Clark are going to have to do some negotiating this offseason. At least one of them will be this offseason's Edson Buddle: A player Bruce Arena rates highly but will have to release due to salary cap concerns. Cudicini, Mastroeni, and Courtois could free up some space by hanging up their boots. In talking about possible needs, Bruce Arena did mention wanting a target forward so that could be on the menu.