Galaxy land Dan Kennedy hope to keep Omar Gonzalez
The Galaxy has answered its need for a veteran goalkeeper, acquiring Dan Kennedy from FC Dallas in exchange for draft picks. The trade will be formally announced this week.
Coach and General Manager Bruce Arena said the team also negotiating a contract with veteran forward Alan Gordon and is hopeful of closing a salary gap that would allow it to keep defender Omar Gonzalez, who lost his designated player spot when the team signed Giovani dos Santos last July.
“If we have a healthy team, get them right, and have some additions in positions we need help, we could be a real good team next year,” Arena said.
The Galaxy’s 2015 season ended in the first round of the playoffs, its earliest exit since 2008.
Kennedy, who played seven years for Chivas USA before the team was disbanded after the 2014 season, has long been a favorite of Arena. But the Galaxy was never able to close a deal for Kennedy, who went to Dallas in last year’s dispersal draft.
So the goalkeeper again topped Arena’s wish list this fall following a season in which Jaime Penedo was allowed to leave in a contract dispute and Donovan Ricketts, his midseason replacement in goal, allowed 10 goals in the team’s last three games, all losses.
By last week, Arena was so confident he would finally land Kennedy the Galaxy declined its 2016 contract option on Ricketts and two other keepers, Brian Perk and Andrew Wolverton, electing to keep only backup Brian Rowe, who had two shutouts in seven starts last season.
The trade was also welcome news for Kennedy, 33, a Fullerton native who wanted to come home to Southern California to finish his career. Kennedy has played in 160 MLS games, posting 33 shutouts, despite playing for some awful teams with Chivas. He lost his starting job in Dallas to 20-year-old Jesse Gonzalez late last summer and his $233,000 salary made him expensive to keep as a backup.
But Arena isn’t done with his off-season tinkering.
“There’ll be some other additions,” he said. “Players who can help our team. Whether you call them name people or not, that remains to be seen.”
In addition the return of Gordon, who scored three game-winning or game-tying goals as a substitute last season, would give the Galaxy an impact player off the bench. Gordon made $175,000 – and the U.S. national team – last season.
And keeping Gonzalez at center back would shore up a back line that struggled down the stretch.
To make that happen Gonzalez will have to negotiate a new contract. Major League Soccer allows teams to pay three designated player salaries that exceed the league maximum, which is increasing to $457,500 next season -- about a third of what Gonzalez made in 2015. And the Galaxy already has deals with Robbie Keane, Steven Gerrard and Dos Santos that will pay each more than $4.5 million in 2016.
MLS helped the Galaxy close that gap last week when it approved $800,000 in “targeted allocation money” to be used in cases like Gonzalez’s. Adding the new TAM money to the league’s maximum wage would allow the Galaxy to match Gonzalez’s base salary from last season, but it would still be more $192,000 short of what the players union lists as his guaranteed compensation from 2015, including bonuses and other income.
“We’re going to do a new contract with him,” Arena said. “That’s what our goal is. If we can’t do it, then we can’t work it out.”
Arena also said midfielder Gyasi Zardes, who has drawn multimillion transfer offers from teams in England’s second division, is expected to stay with the Galaxy. So if the team is able to re-sign Gonzalez and Gordon, it will return every player, with the exception of Ricketts, who played in October’s playoff loss in Seattle.
Follow Kevin Baxter on Twitter @kbaxter11
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