Galaxy signs Ariel Lassiter, gives Gyasi Zardes a big raise

The Galaxy promoted forward Ariel Lassiter to its first team and signed U.S. national player Gyasi Zardes to a multiyear contract extension Thursday, bringing its roster to within one of the opening-day limit of 28 and completing a busy off-season that saw Coach and General Manager Bruce Arena add 10 new players.

Zardes is one of the holdovers, although that was in doubt heading into the off-season. After Zardes scored 22 goals in the last two seasons, the Galaxy was reportedly fielding inquiries from European teams interested in the young forward’s services. The Galaxy refused and Thursday they locked him up through at least 2018.

Although terms of the deal were not announced, it appears that Zardes received a hefty raise from his 2015 base salary of $150,000, since targeted allocation money from the league was included. TAM money can only be used on players making more than the MLS maximum of $457,500.

Earlier this winter, the Galaxy extended the contracts of Robbie Rogers, Jose Villarreal and Rafael Garcia through 2017.

Lassiter, 21, who was born in Costa Rica but raised in the U.S., scored 10 goals in 19 USL games last year for Galaxy II, which is basically a Galaxy farm team. He also made his Major League Soccer debut last season, playing 19 minutes and getting one shot on goal.

The Galaxy made room for Lassiter by waiving Ignacio Magnato and Dan Gargan this week.

With the addition of Lassiter, the Galaxy goes into Sunday’s game against visiting D.C. United with 13 players who weren’t on the roster for last season’s opener. Among them are midfielders Steven Gerrard, Giovani dos Santos and Sebastian Lletget, who joined the team last summer, and defenders Ashley Cole and Jelle Van Damme and midfielder Nigel de Jong, who were signed in the last two months.

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