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Galaxy decline contract options on eight players

Edson Buddle, Steven Beitashour

Edson Buddle, left, of the Galaxy shoots past San Jose’s Steven Beitashour during the first half of a match on Nov. 7, 2012. The Galaxy on Monday declined contract options on eight players, including Buddle.

(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

The Galaxy declined contract options on eight players Monday, leaving them eligible to sign with other Major League Soccer teams either as free agents or after being claimed in Friday’s re-entry draft.

The players not retained were forwards Charlie Rugg and Edson Buddle; midfielders Kenney Walker and Mika Vayrynen; defender Tommy Meyer and goalkeepers Donovan Ricketts, Brian Perk and Andrew Wolverton.

In addition, veteran forward Alan Gordon is out of contract, making him a free agent.

Those moves, however, signify little more than the start of what figures to be a busy winter for Galaxy Coach and General Manager Bruce Arena. After cutting three goalkeepers, for example, Arena has only Brian Rowe left.

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That suggests the team is close to acquiring another keeper, perhaps veteran Dan Kennedy. The former Chivas USA player, long a favorite of Arena’s, lost his starting job at FC Dallas and is likely to be traded. The Galaxy could also look for help overseas, where it has been among the league’s most active teams, last winter signing Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard.

Another problem: The Galaxy has four returning players -- Gerrard, a midfielder; forwards Giovani dos Santos and Robbie Keane; and defender Omar Gonzalez -- who made more than $1.4 million last season. With only three designated player spots available, barring a trade, it will be impossible to fit all four under the league’s maximum budget charge, which was $436,250 in 2015.

Last summer the Galaxy used MLS allocation money to buy down Gonzalez’s contract, getting it under the salary cap and creating room to sign Dos Santos. The league’s board of governors has discussed releasing more allocation money this winter.

The Galaxy could also raise money by transferring national team player Gyasi Zardes to Europe, where several clubs have expressed interest, or by making a trade within MLS for allocation funds.

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“We’re going to make the moves we think we need to make in a timely manner. And that doesn’t necessarily mean it gets done even during re-entry,” Arena said, referencing the 11-day MLS window in which teams can begin negotiating with free agents and selecting players through two stages of a re-entry draft.

“There’s going to be some players outside that process that we’ll look at, obviously players in the international market as well as players in the domestic market.”

Current Galaxy roster:

Goalkeepers: Brian Rowe

Defenders: A.J. DeLaGarza, Dan Gargan, Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo, Robbie Rogers, Dave Romney, Oscar Sorto

Midfielders: Rafael Garcia, Steven Gerrard, Baggio Husidic, Juninho, Sebastian Lletget, Raul Mendiola

Forwards: Giovani dos Santos, Bradford Jamieson IV, Robbie Keane, Ignacio Maganto, Jose Villarreal, Gyasi Zardes 

Follow Kevin Baxter on Twitter: @kbaxter11

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