The LA Galaxy made waves in the MLS market by finalizing a deal with the San Jose Earthquakes, acquiring $200,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) in exchange for 24-year-old striker Preston Judd. The transaction, confirmed on Thursday afternoon, involves LA Galaxy receiving $100,000 in GAM for both 2024 and 2025, with an additional potential $50,000 in conditional 2025 GAM if certain performance milestones are achieved by Judd during his 2024 stint with San Jose.
Expressing gratitude for Judd's contributions, LA Galaxy General Manager Will Kuntz conveyed appreciation for the striker's professionalism and goal-scoring prowess since his selection in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft. Kuntz acknowledged Judd's 33 goals in 75 games for the club and emphasized the inevitability of another team seizing the opportunity to script the next chapter in the player's career.
Judd concluded the 2023 MLS season with four goals and one assist across 643 minutes, leading the team with an average of 4.2 shots per 90 minutes. His journey includes an impressive tally of 30 goals and six assists in 57 regular-season games spanning two seasons for LA Galaxy II (2021-22) in the USL Championship.
The trade aligns with LA Galaxy's strategic objectives for the 2024 campaign, as they actively seek a striker amidst a win-now mindset. Judd's physical attributes set him apart within the Galaxy's striking lineup last year, showcasing promise. However, critiques surfaced regarding his technical proficiency, consistency in connecting with teammates, and variable performance in hold-up play. With the Galaxy poised for immediate success, Judd would likely have occupied a third-string striker role with limited playing opportunities, a situation incongruent with LA's tendency to swiftly develop SuperDraft prospects.
The departure of Preston Judd signifies a mutual understanding between the player and the club, recognizing differing trajectories for their respective futures. As LA Galaxy continues their quest to fortify their squad for the upcoming season, the move signifies a strategic shift as they seek a striker more aligned with their immediate objectives and gameplay.