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Omar Gonzalez as a Galaxy DP? Make it happen, LA

Apr 9, 2013, 10:40 AM EDT

2012 MLS Cup Champions Los Angeles Galaxy Portraits Getty Images

Major League Soccer will reach another milepost when someone figures out that defenders, holding midfielders or goalkeepers can  hold their value as Designated Players. Not many, perhaps, but some.

I have said it several times before: attackers have hogged up all the DP spots, but someone will eventually be smart to break from convention here. It seems that the LA Galaxy may be close. (That’s progress, I suppose.)

ESPN’s Alexi Lalas reported via Twitter this morning that Galaxy GM Chris Klein “told me he’d like to keep Omar Gonzalez and Omar wants to stay. He wouldn’t rule out making him a DP.”

See there; nothing like a little solid clarity on a situation, eh?

That’s sarcasm, of course. Nothing much has moved here except a little more information from the Galaxy side. Gonzalez’s contract ends this year. The Galaxy is already past the point where the club can make big bank on their talented U.S. international center back. Since he can sign a pre-contract as early as this summer, they are already likely to lose him without compensation.

So the club is left with just two options regarding the man most important in last year’s successful title defense – yes, Gonzalez was more important than any of the Galaxy’s three DPs, Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan or David Beckham.

They can lean on him through 2013, hoping the 6-5 center back can guided the Galaxy to a third MLS Cup crown, then lose him without zero compensation. Or, they can sign him to a DP deal – and it would surely take a figure beyond the Designated Player threshold to keep Gonzalez at the Home Depot Center.

Coaches and general managers will tell you that quality defenders, holding mids and goalkeepers can be found for lesser money. Attackers cost more, therefore they get the DP spots.

But there are surely exceptions, and Gonzalez is one of them.

  1. whordy - Apr 9, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    This would be good for the Galaxy but bad for America. Gonzalez has some legit talent. He need to go to a top tier league and prove what he can do. There will always be a place for him back in the MLS if he fails.

    • valiantdraws - Apr 9, 2013 at 12:02 PM

      Didn’t the same get said about Gooch? And then he languished on the bench and fell out of form? If Gonz makes the move, he should consider a mid table team or a slightly lower league so he gets consistent playing time. Everton, anyone?

      • wfjackson3 - Apr 9, 2013 at 4:05 PM

        Gooch got hurt and lost what little bit of speed he had in the first place. He didn’t languish on the bench until he shredded his knee.

    • charliej11 - Apr 9, 2013 at 2:29 PM

      Bad for America.

      Man I thought he looked pretty good for America. I guess shutting down Mexico ain’t what it used to be.

      I love the prove what he can do comments too. I always wonder, are the people that make those comments just new to soccer and can’t tell who has talent and who doesn’t. Like when Landon went over to England, there were some that thought he didn’t have what it takes ?

  2. dfstell - Apr 9, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    I agree to an extent. Omar is a great defender and can dominate games. I’d love to see him get his due.

    However, what would they be paying him as a DP? Doesn’t he make ~$250K now? The Galaxy have lots of money. That’s why they can afford the Primo A-List DPs like Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan (or Beckham when he was dedicated). There is a world of difference in what you can expect for a $4MM salary and a DP making $800K. If the Galaxy use a DP slot on Omar, but only pay him $800K, they forfeit the chance to bring in another Robbie Keane-level talent. What else is the Galaxy going to do with the “saved” money? They already have a pretty nice youth program, right? It isn’t like they can spend that “saved” money elsewhere on the roster. Maybe hire some more coaches or something? Better balls for training?

    • Steve Davis - Apr 9, 2013 at 12:26 PM

      That’s a good point. Maybe the team that needs a defensive DP is a smaller budget club. Because those clubs can’t afford to go get three high-dollar stars. For a team like Columbus, Colorado, Dallas, etc., it’s mostly about trying win, not necessarily about trying to win WHILE ALSO becoming a major, globally recognized brand.

      • dfstell - Apr 9, 2013 at 12:38 PM

        There’s that, but there’s also a difference in the DPs. When people point at DPs who “haven’t panned out”, they mostly of the bargain bin variety. Those guys were just in other leagues where all the players make more than here…..but they weren’t really any better than MLS regulars. But, when you bring in a guy making $4MM (or 20X what a lot of MLSers make), you should be reasonable assured of getting a difference maker

        I’m a Galaxy fan, so I’d like Omar to stick around, but it seems like blowing some of their natural financial advantages to use a DP spot like that. It would be nice if they could sign Omar for $800K AND sign some midfielder for $3MM (and still pay less than they were paying Beckham), but MLS rules won’t allow that (unless they can use allocation money to buy Omar’s contract way down or something).

  3. charliej11 - Apr 9, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    They need OG. Badly. The first half of the season already proved that if you didn’t know it already. Pay him DP money. If only because we don’t need another nat team member wandering around from team to team.

    LA finished in LAST PLACE without him in 2008. He joins, LA makes MLS Cup 3 out of the next four years. They would have come close to that last year if he doesn’t come back.

    Sorry dudes, but those of you that think they have to go with firepower up front to win, don’t get soccer. One, LA already has firepower up front Jose V. LD, Keane, etc. Second, defense wins championships.

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