Los Angeles Galaxy
Head Coach: Steve Sampson
Team site: http://la.galaxy.mlsnet.com/MLS/lag/
SAMPSON, HAMILTON REMAKE ROSTER: Every coach likes to bring in players suited to his system, and Head Coach Steve Sampson is no different. After taking over in August 2004, Sampson didn't have much time to mold his roster during the season. But after the Galaxy's 2004 campaign, which ended in a Western Conference final loss to Kansas City, Sampson and General Manager Doug Hamilton took charge of re-tooling the roster. M Andreas Herzog retired in November, but after the new year, the heavy movement began. On draft day, January 12, the Galaxy traded F Alejandro Moreno, D Chris Aloisi and the 6th overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft to San Jose for D Todd Dunivant, GK Steve Cronin and the 5th pick, and then sent M Sasha Victorine to Kansas City for the 15th pick.
On February 18, the Galaxy brought in D Michael Umaña from Club Sport Herediano in Costa Rica, who Sampson had observed as coach of the Costa Rica national team. Five days later, management made another splash in Central America, acquiring Guatemala national team captain M Guillermo "El Pando" Ramirez on loan from CSD Municipal. In late March, the Galaxy brought in a troika of players-M Paulo Nagamura, a Brazilian from Arsenal's reserve system and former Sao Paulo player; F Ednaldo da Conceicao, another Brazilian, from FC St. Gallen in Switzerland; and another tico, Liga Deportiva Alajuense D Pablo Chinchilla. Those signings set off a number of moves the following day. D Ben Benditson, M Mamba Chisoni and F Herculez Gomez were signed to developmental contracts, Danny Califf was traded to San Jose in exchange for an allocation, and the Galaxy acquired a portion of allocation and youth international spot from FC Dallas in exchange for the allocation that had previously been acquired from Chivas USA. Still, the big moves were really yet to begin. On March 30, the Galaxy sent F Carlos Ruiz to FC Dallas for an allocation. The next day, two days before the season opener, that allocation was used to sign F Landon Donovan. In all, only 11 of the 28 players from the 2004 playoff roster remain as the team enters the 2005 playoffs.
GALAXY MAKE ROOM FOR A NEW STAR: The Galaxy made the biggest move in MLS this season just two days before it began, signing U.S. international star and three-time reigning Honda Player of the Year F Landon Donovan. The move sent shock waves across the League, as only a few months earlier Donovan had left the San Jose Earthquakes for Bayer 04 Leverkusen of the German Bundesliga, the team he originally signed with as a 16-year-old in 1998. But Donovan, a Redlands native, earned only sporadic playing time in Germany, and didn't enjoy the restricting playing style, prompting a return to MLS. General Manager Doug Hamilton negotiated to free up enough allocation space to sign the hometown star, culminating in a trade of three-time scoring leader Carlos Ruiz to FC Dallas. "My decision to return to MLS and be part of a growing dynasty of champions with the Los Angeles Galaxy is one that I have made with thoughtful consideration," said Donovan. He wasted no time making an impact. Despite sitting out the opener on April 2 in Columbus due to illness, he scored two goals and added an assist in a 3-1 win against Real Salt Lake in the April 9 home opener. He broke out of the gate, scoring five goals and adding three assists in his first four matches, all Galaxy victories. The only defense MLS sides against Donovan was his commitment to the U.S. National team, which used him extensively in 2006 World Cup Qualifying, the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup and friendlies.
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