The MLS offseason has been in full force for some time now, and the blockbuster moves continue to take shape.
On Saturday, the Columbus Crew finalized a deal with the LA Galaxy to send striker Ola Kamara to the Western Conference side.
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In exchange for Kamara, the Galaxy have sent U.S. Men’s National Team attacker Gyasi Zardes and $400,000 in Targeted Allocation Money to the Crew. The amount of TAM could increase to $500,000 if Kamara scores 12 or more goals in 2018.
Since arriving on the MLS scene in 2016, the Norwegian had scored 34 regular season goals for the Crew, while adding five assists.
Meanwhile, Zardes has spent his entire professional career with the Galaxy up until this point, after having signed a Homegrown contract with the club over five years ago.
The USMNT winger has scored 34 goals in 131 regular season appearances since making his senior team debut for the Galaxy.
According to a reports by the LA Times and by ESPN, the LA Galaxy have traded US international Gyasi Zardes along with allocation money to the Columbus Crew for striker Ola Kamara.
Both reports state that Columbus will receive $400,000 in guaranteed allocation money in the deal, plus another $100,000 should Kamara score 12 goals next season to trigger the incentive.
Zardes was once a force along the wing for Bruce Arena and the Galaxy, but the 26-year-old has declined heavily in the last two seasons as injuries and poor form have held him to just eight goals over the last two seasons, including just two last campaign. Meanwhile, Kamara has been a star for Columbus in his first two years in Major League Soccer, scoring 16 goals in 2016 before netting another 18 last season, leaving him third in the league in goals scored over those two seasons.
The LA Times report states that Kamara will earn a new contract after the trade, giving him a raise over his current $482,500 yearly salary.
Zardes is an interesting case who shouldn’t be given up on just yet. A homegrown player for the Galaxy, he scored 17 goals in the 2014 season, including on in the MLS Cup Finals as the Galaxy won it all. He earned a seemingly permanent place on the USMNT as a result, and has 37 caps to this date. However, his goalscoring form has since evaporated, leaving him with no more than six goals in an MLS season since, and has just six goals in those 37 caps for the national team.
The Galaxy will need to acquire an additional international roster spot in order to activate Kamara for the season opener on March 4th against Portland, as they have filled up their seven spots as of now.
The game in 100 words (or less): On the bright side, the Seattle Sounders’ unbeaten run was extended to an even dozen games on Sunday. On the not-so-bright side, anytime you draw the ninth-place team, a team with one win in their last 11 games, and do so at home, it’s two points dropped rather than a point earned. With a chance to leapfrog the Portland Timbers for the Western Conference’s top spot (and do so with a game in hand, no less), a 1-1 draw is all Brian Schmetzer’s side could muster, in comeback fashion nonetheless, against the LA Galaxy. Gyasi Zardes put the visitors ahead not long before the half-hour mark, setting the stage for Lamar Neagle to play the role of late-game hero five minutes from full-time.
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Three moments that mattered
25′ — Zardes heads past Frei for 1-0 — Romain Alessandrini did the tough part — creating space for the cross, and delivering a perfect ball onto Zardes’ head — and Zardes headed it all the way across goal, which gave Stefan Frei no chance of making the save.
85′ — Neagle slams home a beautiful cross from Torres — The finish is tougher than most will give Neagle credit for, but the real story here is (center back) Roman Torres with the first-time cross off a 50-yard diagonal from Osvaldo Alonso.
89′ — Torres sent off for nothing, really — Torres sent off for… Jermaine Jones being clumsy/uncoordinated? No video review to re-assess the decision? Sounds about right.
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Man of the match: Kelvin Leerdam
Goalscorers: Zardes (25′), Neagle (85′)
CARSON, Calif. (AP) Romain Alessandrini and Gyasi Zardes each had a goal and an assist to help the Los Angeles Galaxy beat the Colorado Rapids 3-0 on Saturday night and snap a 10-game winless streak, including four consecutive losses.
Los Angeles (7-14-5) won for the first time since a 3-1 victory at Colorado on June 21.
Alessandrini converted from the spot in the 18th minute after Zardes drew a penalty on goalkeeper Zac MacMath. Emmanuel Boateng blasted a left-footer, off a header from Zardes, from the top of the box to make it 2-0 in the 23rd. Zardes capped the scoring in the 56th minute, tapping Alessandrini’s cross into an open net from point-blank range.
The Rapids (6-16-4) have lost have lost four in a row since Steve Cooke was named interim head coach, replacing Pablo Mastroeni, on August 15th and are winless in their last nine.
Jon Kempin had two saves and his second-career shutout.
Sigi Schmid, who was named the Galaxy’s head coach on July 27, got his first win with team since 2004. He was named MLS Coach of the Year with Los Angeles in 1999 before winning the Supporters’ Shield and the MLS Cup with the club in 2002.
Plenty of changes were made to the LA Galaxy this offseason, and now injuries are also plaguing the five-time MLS Cup winners.
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New Galaxy manager Curt Onolfo this week that defender Ashley Cole suffered a calf injury in the team’s preseason friendly against Real Salt Lake on Tuesday.
[ MORE: Whitecaps acquire Brek Shea in deal with Orlando City ]
The Los Angeles Times in reporting that Cole’s injury could keep him out for around a month, which would leave him absent of the Galaxy’s first three matches against FC Dallas, the Portland Timbers and RSL.
The 36-year-old Cole joined the Western Conference side in 2016 after a lengthy and successful European career. In his debut season, Cole made 26 starts for the Galaxy and scored a goal in that span.
In addition to Cole’s injury, the Galaxy are currently without outside back Robbie Rogers and USMNT attacker Gyasi Zardes, who have both undergone surgeries in the past two months.