Look for the Galaxy to be making at least two major trades before David Beckham arrives in July.
The need to strengthen the squad has been evident for a while, but was underlined Saturday night when the New England Revolution, powered by two Taylor Twellman goals, picked up a 3-2 victory in front of 22,715 at the Home Depot Center.
Afterward, Galaxy Coach Frank Yallop acknowledged that changes are planned, although he named no names.
Others were less hesitant, and one scenario being talked about was the acquisition in June of a top-class defender from a European club, possibly free-agent Portuguese right back Abel Xavier.
Another hot rumor was that Guatemalan striker Carlos Ruiz would be returning to the Galaxy, which lacks an accomplished goal scorer and a Latino flavor. Ruiz, immensely popular in his time with the Galaxy, fills both bills.
To get him, though, the Galaxy would have to give up quality for quality, and the talk was that it might be right back Chris Albright who ends up going to FC Dallas, possibly along with recently acquired forward Nate Jaqua.
Ruiz, who scored 50 goals in 69 games for the Galaxy, including the game winner in MLS Cup 2002, was traded to Dallas in March 2005.
Asked about possible trades looming, Yallop would say only that they were not out of the question.
“We’re always thinking about it,” he said. “We know there are areas we need to get better at.... There are always chances of doing that, sure.”
Saturday night’s loss dropped the Galaxy to 1-2 at home and to 1-2-1 overall, keeping it in fifth place in the Western Conference. New England climbed into first place in the East with a 4-1-2 mark and is unbeaten in its last six games.
Twellman came into the game as the league’s leading goal scorer this season. The Galaxy apparently was not paying attention to the statistics because the defense twice let Twellman escape as he increased his tally to six goals in seven games.
It was one of those matches where the fans left the stadium not liking the result but having to admit they had received their money’s worth.
The Galaxy took the lead early, was tied, fell behind, fought back to tie it up again and ultimately lost when the defense gave up a third goal mere seconds after the Galaxy had tied things up.
“We shouldn’t be giving up those kinds of chances,” Yallop said. “It just seems to simple to attack us”
The Galaxy started out brightly and took the lead in the 14th minute when Landon Donovan fed Peter Vagenas, who in turn found Kyle Martino on the left. Martino curled an excellent shot beneath the dive of goalkeeper Matt Reis and just inside the far post.
The Galaxy still had the advantage at the half, but then things deteriorated in a hurry.
New England scored twice in a five-minute span early in the second half as first Adam Cristman and then Twellman found the back of the net. The Galaxy tied it up on a headed goal by Tyrone Marshall off a Donovan corner kick in the 84th minute, but Twellman’s second goal came less than a minute later.
It spelled defeat for the Galaxy and launched trade rumors that will only grow stronger.