CARSON, Calif. (AP) Defender Ashley Cole has agreed to return for another season with the LA Galaxy.
The MLS club announced a one-year contract with the veteran English star on Wednesday.
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The 37-year-old Cole had one goal and two assists in 29 games as the Galaxy’s left back last year. The former Arsenal and Chelsea stalwart has been with the Galaxy for the past two seasons, making 55 appearances as one of MLS’ most effective left backs.
Cole has provided steadiness and leadership to the Galaxy despite their slump to the bottom of the MLS standings last season.
Cole fills the club’s last available foreign-allocation roster spot. The Galaxy also signed Norwegian defender Jorgen Skjelvik on a free transfer last month.
Monday was moving day for many MLS teams as they look to cut their rosters down before the offseason really progresses in the next several weeks, and there were certainly some surprising decisions made.
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LA Galaxy defender Ashley Cole and New York Red Bulls midfielder Mike Grella were among the most-recognizable names not to return to their respective clubs, with Cole’s contract set to expire at the end of 2017.
The Galaxy did not state in their press release at to whether or not they were working on renegotiations with the former Premier League outside back.
Meanwhile, Grella missed the majority of the 2017 season for the Red Bulls with a knee injury, making the 30-year-old a solid option for another club if he can get healthy again.
Vancouver Whitecaps duo David Ousted and Christian Bolanos were also among the casualties, while Real Salt Lake have several big names out of contract starting in January, including Nick Rimando, Kyle Beckerman, Brooks Lennon and Chris Wingert.
Earlier in the day, NYCFC announced its roster moves, which included the team letting go of Mikey Lopez, Ethan White and Fredrick Brillant.
The four clubs remaining in the MLS Cup Playoffs will have the opportunity to trim their rosters down after their respective seasons are over. The two sides that exit after the conference finals will have until Dec. 1, while Dec. 10 is the cut off for the two squads that reach MLS Cup.
With Los Angeles FC set to take part in the Expansion Draft in two weeks, some of these could be in the running for selection by the new West Coast side.
The game in 100 words (or less): The LA Galaxy’s midfield remains… nonexistent, to put it very nicely. It was a problem in 2015; it was a major problem in 2016; and it remains a problem early in 2017. On Sunday, Curt Onalfo’s side (as a quick aside, no, his seat isn’t yet getting hot) sat by and watched — almost literally — as the Seattle Sounders found the back of the net three times in the first half at StubHub Center.
Clint Dempsey and Jordan Morris scored the goals for Seattle, to go with an own goal from Ashley Cole. It’s LA’s fifth loss in seven games, while Seattle have their second win of the season and put to bed a three-game winless skid.
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Three moments that mattered
29′ — Dempsey heads into an open net for 1-0 — Nicolas Lodeiro floated the cross toward the back post, and Dempsey made extremely easy work of it with Brian Rowe scrambling through no man’s land.
35′ — Cole applies the finish into his own net — If it happened at the other end of the field, we’d have said it was a cool, calm, composed finish. Alas…
44′ — Morris fires past Rowe for 3-0 — The counter-attack was quick, what with no one stepping to the ball as Seattle covered two-thirds of the field. The finish wasn’t so simple for Morris.
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Man of the match: Clint Dempsey
Goalscorers: Dempsey (29′), Cole (OG – 35′), Morris (44′)
LA Galaxy left back Ashley Cole left Arsenal for Chelsea more than a decade ago, but that hasn’t erased the bitter memories of the departure from his boyhood club.
Cole was famously involved in a “tapping up” meeting with Chelsea without Arsenal’s permission in 2005, but signed a contract extension with the Gunners. Still, he was gone a year later in messy circumstances.
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As the most capped fullback in England’s history who boasts both Premier League and Champions League titles with Chelsea, Cole easily could rest on his own laurels and move on from the divorce.
But when asked whether he’s enjoying Arsenal’s current struggles, Cole couldn’t help himself.
“If I’m honest, yeah, I still think to this day. I laugh to myself. I had a lot of history there and I think the way I left was maybe a bit dodgy but the lack of respect they showed me as well.”
Cole accepts a share of the blame for his time ended at Arsenal, but says he doesn’t regret it. Still, his response is not a picture of class.
Next time, just laugh and say, “Next question,” Ashley.
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.
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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.