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MLS Cup champion Galaxy turn attention to 2012

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CARSON, Calif. – The champagne has dried up, the parties are over and now one question remains.

Just what will the Los Angeles Galaxy do for an encore in 2012?

After winning the MLS Cup, the Supporters Shield and qualifying for the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League in 2011, the Galaxy have their work cut out for them if they are going to repeat their feat next season. 

To return to the dizzying heights of 2011, the Galaxy will have a host of roster decisions to make, which includes but is not limited to the status of David Beckham. While the status of the English midfielder has been a much-ballyhooed topic as of late, the status of key role players like Sean Franklin and Juninho remains a question ahead of the 2012 season. 

“We’re in a league that’s designed to knock you down when you’re good. You get the last pick in the draft, a lot of guys probably had bonuses this year that will kick in next year and make their salary cap numbers higher," said Galaxy captain Landon Donovan. "The league is designed for the bad teams to get better and the good teams to get worse, but I think we’re a little bit greedy…My thought as early as Monday morning was how we could improve."

The rising salary numbers that come with a championship will add to the challenge of head coach Bruce Arena as he looks to keep together a team that was considered one of the most successful in MLS history. Following the club's final training session in California before departing on a winter tour of Asia, Arena admitted that discussions have already begun to retain both Franklin and Juninho. 

Juninho's return may be particularly tricky as the Brazilian midfielder has been on loan from Sao Paulo since 2010 and remains under contract with Sao Paulo for another six months.  The Brazilian has emerged as a key component of the Galaxy's midfield during his two seasons in MLS with a penchant for scoring key goals. This season, Juninho formed a solid partnership with Beckham, with his steely defensive presence freeing the Englishman to further contribute to the Galaxy attack. 

"Right now, I have a situation where I don’t have a contract with the Galaxy so I’m going to go back to Brazil and weigh my options," said Juninho on Wednesday. "[The Galaxy] started talks with the Sao Paolo and my representatives so I’m going to let it play out and hopefully wait for the best.

"The club in Brazil definitely wants something in return," Juninho added. "They have other offers and options, it’s not as easy as you expect." 

In Franklin's case, there is no transfer fee required, but after three impressive years as one of the linchpins of the Galaxy's defense, he is entitled to a raise. Although the defender is without a contract, Franklin is confident that a deal can be reached.

"I'm looking forward to being here next year; I’ve been talking to Bruce and my agent," said Franklin. "Hopefully we’re going to get something done and I’m just going to worry about enjoying time with my friends and family this offseason."

While the status of some is in doubt, others with their futures assured will focus on resting before the Galaxy return to the training ground in mid-January ahead of their CONCACAF Champions League match up in March. Irish forward Robbie Keane admits that he is ”getting a few calls from various clubs” about a January loan but that it “would be stupid to go anywhere to play for a couple months [on loan] when I can have a few weeks off.”

Prior to getting their much needed rest, the Galaxy will embark on a two week, three nation tour throughout Southeast Asia and Australia. The tour includes stops in the Philippines and Indonesia, but it may be the last time that the MLS Cup Champions share the field together. 

Serious questions may remain about who will stay and who will go, but the Galaxy understand that keeping their core together will help the club in their quest to even greater heights next season.

"When you have a team that’s been playing together for so many games and so many years then it only brings success," said Franklin. "Bruce has changed this team since ’08 since I’ve been here and we have a great group of guys and even the new guys that have come in this year have stepped up. I’m looking forward to having the same group for next season." 


  1. –Irish forward Robbie Keane admits that he is “getting a few calls from various clubs” about a January loan but that it “would be stupid to go anywhere to play for a couple months [on loan] when I can have a few weeks off.”

    cheers Robbie :)))

  2. Landon is full of it. He just won MLS Cup and he’s whining already? His team has won the Supporter Shield twice in a row and has played in the MLS Cup final two of the last three years, but this guy has a persucution complex? He knows the Galaxy can sign mega-DP’s, sign internationals, make trades, etc., but he chooses to complain anyway. Ignore Donovan, he’s just a Nancy.

  3. Ricketts is a beast!!! Its great when he is in goal, but looking at the needs of this team and the fact that Saunders has played at such a high level, I think the Galaxy should look to see what they can get in a trade. I think the perfect location would be Montreal, who could use him as the foundation of thier defense as they add players and get things figured out the first couple of years.

  4. For 2011 Greg Berhalter made a base salary and guaranteed compensation of $96,000(he has retired), Jovan Kirovski base salary of $84,000 and guaranteed compensation of $86,000 (35 yrs old and seldom used most likely to be cut or will retire), Frankie Hejduk base salary and guaranteed compensation also of $96,000 (37 yrs old and looked bad in the few times he played also most likely to be cut or will retire)Donovan Ricketts goalie base salary of $170,000 and guaranteed compensation of $195,000 will be traded to some team probably for allocation money since MLS is not a league where your second string goalie is making this much money. Total this up and you will have plenty to pay for Franklin let’s say $200,000 guaranteed in his new contract( he made in 2011 base salary of $97,389 and guaranteed compensation of $111,139). Left over will give a sizable amount of money for Juninho (he made in 2011 base salary of $90,000 and guaranteed compensation of $100,000) He too goes to $200,000 for his new salary and his transfer fee is anyone’s guess. Or the Galaxy could roll the dice and not pay a transfer fee since he is only under contract with Sao Paulo for another six months. Question is are there other clubs outside of MLS that are willing to pay the transfer fee or pay him more than $200,000 per year. I feel that the Galaxy will be looking pretty good if they can keep these two core players. The real question is does Donovan stay or does he go to Europe as the pre-MLS Cup rumors suggested if the Galaxy won which they did.

  5. While the Galaxy are waiting on the whole Beckham scenario, there are a few things they can do to free up some cash to resign a few guys. 1.) Trade Ricketts to get some extra cash and maybe a yong player or pick (with Saunders playing well and Perk a nice option as a back-up this could help the Gs fill some other needs). 2.) Trade Birchall to give Stephens and Cardozo time and free up $$$ to make sure Franklin comes back.

    Also with Berhalter retiring and Hejduk and Kirovski possible to follow, that might free up some cash, too.

  6. MLS will never have that problem because they have playoffs and the superclubs will get knocked out by the underdogs every once in awhile.

    Donovan is right. I just can’t believe he came right out and said it. The socialist set-up of the league is bad for American soccer.

  7. Wow.. this is idioacy. Although our DPs were instrumental in our success, I would argue players like saunders,magee,and our entire backline were just as if not more important. I’m sorry your team doesn’t have a coach who knows how to make the most of their draft picks. Or pick up international players for cheap. Or has a coaching staff who can evaluate talent. This “the leauge hands the Galaxy players on a silver platter” debate is old and trite.

  8. I’m sure MLS will come up with some sort or cap relief system for players either drafted by a club or brought into the league by a club, that allows for their salary to grow without taking as big of a hit on the cap pretty soon. They should at least. It would be the smartest possible money to spend league wide outside of the cap. Rewarding teams for drafting well and finding those Carlos Ruiz, Freddy Montaro type players.

  9. This is the Galaxy we are talking about, I am sure the league will make the concessions neccesary to insure L.A. will keep its high priced talent.

  10. It all boils down to Beckham’s answer I don’t think the Galaxy can make any substantial moves until his situation is resolved.

    I do believe that Juninho will be back, and so will the core of the Galaxy. But they will make some roster moves to free up caps space in order to keep Franklin and Junhino.

    Just read the foreign press and they have the Galaxy linked to Lapmpard and now Drogba, among others. If Beckham does leave (I think he will stay)the Galaxy will likely go for another big name star, to sell jersies, put butss on seats and orchestrate the midfield.

    This means he will not, however, be a striker. The Galaxy offense worked so well with Beckham and his passing the Galaxy will look to seek a skilled passer and midfield creator. This is a tough position and whoever they might bring in, he will have some BIG, BIG shoes to fill.

  11. Actually, barring major injuries, LAG will be a serous contender again in 2012. The single biggest reason ain’t glamourous or sexy but its that they’re probably the league’s best defense, their backline is young and all of them will likely return. I guess it’s possible they either won’t re-sign Juninho or Franklin but I find that unlikely. They may lose a DP or two, may not score as many goals or be so dominant on the field. But if you field a championship level defense, then you have a good chance to compete.

    As for those whining about how MLS hurts the best teams, that’s a reality that almost all sports teams in the world go through–you win a championship and that means some players had career years, most players get bonuses. The easiest thing in the world as a champion is to “stand pat.” And that’s the easiest way to not repeat as champions. If LAG is serious about returning as league champion, they won’t seek to re-sign their entire roster. They’ll look to replace some guys with younger, healthier, cheaper alternatives with a good upside. Or look for a good quality bargain. I don’t know what that means for Becks or Keene or Juninho or some others but that (plus a really good young defense) and Donovan are what improve their likelihood of being a repeat champion–not keeping everyone from this year.

  12. its hurts every team that finds a good player and was under paying them and now has to find a way to pay them what they are worth. Example Rosales for Seattle cost 40 or 60k I believe and he was arguably their best player so how are they going to find an extra 1-200k lying around.
    The point is MLS needs to increase the salary cap and they low balled the players because they knew that most of the players couldn’t afford going a month or two without being paid.

  13. Donovan is right, MLS hurts the best teams. It’s really not fair and it hurts MLS if we intend to compete in the CCL and international level.

  14. While the status of the English midfielder has been a much-ball hooded topic as of late, the status of key role players like Sean Franklin and Juninho remains a question ahead of the 2012 season.

  15. Go Dynamo! Yes, Houston lost to the Galaxy while in a transitional phase but we made it to the Final when others thought we wouldn’t even make it to the playoffs. After this Montreal Impact fiasco with Brian Ching subsides, I’m sure Houston will not only be in the playoffs next season but will also be playing for the 2012 MLS Cup again. I hope Beckham, Keane, and Donavan are all still playing cause it’s gonna be a different game this time around. Go Dynamo!


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