Editorial (January 8, 2019) – The 2019 MLS SuperDraft is this coming Friday. With new leadership running the technical operations for the Galaxy, this coming season looks to be more promising then the last two. With some roster building still needed, the LA Galaxy SuperDraft decisions could play a factor.
2019 LA Galaxy SuperDraft Preview: Defensive depth and diamonds in the rough
The Galaxy already have 22 players signed for 2019. That is with four players scheduled to be Designated Players and excludes Emmanuel Boateng and Servando Carrasco, though the club is reportedly close to re-signing both. Their roster is pretty close to complete at this point given they only have 30 total spots, the last two of which have to go to Homegrown players. That leaves at most five spots for them to make non-Homegrown signings without trading someone.
The Galaxy have five picks in the SuperDraft this year, one in each round except the third (where they have three). They have the 12th, 36th, 51st, 52nd, 60th, and 86th overall. Chances are, all the top players and entire Generation Adidas class will be off the board by the 12th pick. The Galaxy are unlikely to get a Rookie of the Year candidate from any of their draft picks, but they can still be productive in their selections.
Filling the most immediate need:
Right now, the Galaxy roster is pretty stacked in the midfield. They have three goalkeepers. Numbers-wise, they might want an extra forward, but that player won’t be getting much playing time with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ola Kamara on the team. Where they need options and bodies is in defense. They have just six defenders on the roster right now, with no true left backs.
Say what you will about the college soccer system and MLS talent coming out of the SuperDraft. Rookies make the league minimum in many cases. Starting caliber defenders can still be found in the SuperDraft every year. Bruce Arena’s first two picks in the SuperDraft as Head Coach of the LA Galaxy back in 2009 were Omar Gonzalez and A.J. DeLaGarza.
The Galaxy should draft for a depth defender (preferably an outside back) with their first round pick (12th overall). Logan Gdula (Wake Forest) or Akeem Ward (Creighton) are two plausible targets. Don’t count on the club hoping they start in 2019, but they could be backups to an eventual starting caliber left back signing.
Lower rounds, lower returns:
After their first round pick, it’s probably a crap-shoot. You’re looking for a player who’s a specific fit and can be stashed away in the USL for a few seasons who might become a contributor to the first team in 2021-ish. At this point, it’s less about positional need at the MLS level and more what LA Galaxy II might need.
The third and fourth round have had very little returns in recent years. Last year, a third of the league passed on their draft pick in the fourth round. They decided it wasn’t worth taking any college soccer senior for free. With three third round picks, you’d think the Galaxy would exercise them or try to move them to a club that wanted them.
The second round pick will probably be a Los Dos signed player. After that, your guess is as good as mine. Since this is the first LA Galaxy SuperDraft for Dennis te Kloese and Guillermo Barros Schelloto, we don’t have any data on their tendencies and preferences, unlike past Galaxy leadership. Since they’re a bit new to this, they’ll probably heir on the side of caution. Don’t expect any big splashes or big trades mid-draft.