With all the hoopla, pomp and pageantry that was MLS Cup 2012 out of the way, work on the 2013 season has officially begun, and Los Angeles Galaxy manager Bruce Arena knows that in order to make a push for a fifth title in Major League Soccer, wheelings and dealing need to be issued, decisions need to be made, and so on and so forth. Such is the mystique of the silly season that is the offseason.
“Every day since the end of 2011 MLS Cup we were celebrating, we were setting engagements and we were fully occupied with everyone being aware of the fact that we won the MLS Cup in 2011 and I think it impacted us on the field and off the field,” Arena told LAGalaxy.com’s John Wilkinson. “I think it’s a great experience for us because I’m hopeful that this year we pat ourselves on the back for it and get on with the work in 2013.”
A number of Galaxy players will not be available for the 2013 campaign. Midfielder David Beckham has quit the club on a winning note. Team captain Landon Donovan may not be suiting up in a Galaxy uniform due to a long, grueling career with little breaks. Defender Omar Gonzalez is hoping for a gig in Europe en route to a spot on the USA men’s national team next spring. And midfielder Juninho may be on his way back to Sao Paulo, as his loan is set to expire at the end of this year.
However, there is a push by the club to buy Juninho’s rights from Sao Paulo and make him a fixture on the Galaxy roster for the long haul. “We’ve been working on that for a while,” Arena said of the process. “We’ll keep working on that, we’re hopeful that we can bring him back.”
Other notable players on their way out include much-maligned forward Chad Barrett and midfielder Christian Wilhelmsson, who concludes a mostly-unimpressive stint with the Galaxy with an MLS title.
One player from the youth ranks that will be seeing action on the first team next year is galaxy Academy defender Oscar Sorto. A member of the Galaxy Academy U-18s, Sorto joins a growing list of Home Grown players including Jose Villareal and Jack McBean.
News is spreading that Brazilian midfielder Kaka is in talks with the Galaxy to fill in one of the DP spots. Kaka is currently with Real Madrid but is seeing less and less playing time. All that really needs to be done is to have an acceptable deal finalized, according to Kaka himself.
“I keep doing my work to remain at [Real] Madrid,” he told Brian Strauss of Sporting News. “Then, we can see what happens and what the club wants. It is not a comfortable situation for the club or me. I will go if I have an agreement with the club.”
At age 30, Kaka could have a career as lengthy as Beckham’s if he chooses to sign with the Galaxy. He brings a proven track record of success: 2007 FIFA Player of the Year, league championships with AC Milan and Real Madrid, a 2007 UEFA Champions League and Club World Cup, and three major trophies with the Brazilian national team in the 2002 FIFA World Cup and 2005 and 2009 Confederations Cups. Kaka’s signing would be a major coup for the Galaxy, who are aiming to reload their arsenal next Spring with the start of the 2013 season and CONCACAF Champions League looming in the distance.