Insider Notes: How Galaxy could keep Gonzalez; Nagbe impresses with U.S.
On paper, the LA Galaxy have a problem when it comes to keeping Omar Gonzalez for next season.
LA has all three Designated Player slots filled (with Steven Gerrard, Giovani Dos Santos and Robbie Keane), and it no longer has any of the targeted allocation money (TAM) left that it used to pay down Gonzalez’s salary below DP level last season. Gonzalez also can veto any trade. But there are at least two ways LA could keep Gonzalez and its other three DPs for next season.
I’m told the Galaxy has a $3 million offer for Gyasi Zardes from a club in the English Championship. If LA were to sell Zardes, a homegrown player, it could get enough allocation money to buy down Gonzalez's budget charge and keep him on the team next season. Perhaps more likely, I’m also told there’s a pretty good chance MLS owners will change the rules and bring more TAM money into the system for next season—and potentially keep Gonzalez and everyone else in LA.
Originally, teams were granted $500,000 in TAM to use over the course of five seasons. The Galaxy used all of it on Gonzalez so they could go ahead and acquire Giovani dos Santos and stay within the league's budget and roster rules.
Here are some other insider items from around American soccer:
Nagbe looks sharp in U.S. camp
The U.S. opens up 2018 World Cup qualifying in St. Louis against St. Vincent and The Grenadines on Friday, and one player to keep an eye on is midfielder Darlington Nagbe. The 25-year-old is in his first national team camp after recently gaining U.S. citizenship, and I’m told the coaching staff has been very pleased with Nagbe in training so far. “Skillful” was the word that was used. Nagbe has a good chance of seeing time on the field on Friday, perhaps as a starter.
Keane to coach LAFC?
LAFC isn’t set to start play until 2018, but a well-connected LA source says to keep an eye on Keane as a potential coach for the team. Keane has been working on his coaching badges and has already said he’d like to manage at the pro level, potentially in the United States. Keane and his wife love L.A., and they happened to live in the same building as LAFC president Tom Penn until recently.
I’m told Keane and Penn have developed a strong friendship as a result.
Sounders shopping Alonso
The Seattle Sounders could be making some major changes in the offseason, and one of those may involve midfielder Osvaldo Alonso. I’m hearing Seattle is actively shopping Alonso for a trade around MLS. The Cuban émigré has been one of MLS’s best defensive midfielders in recent years, but he’s now 30 and has been injured during the last two postseasons. Alonso has two years left on a guaranteed contract that pays him nearly $800,000 a year, per the MLS Players Union.
MLS playoff prize money
How much money do the players on an MLS team get for winning the MLS Cup title? Well, the MLS Cup championship team will get $275,000, which is slightly more than the $250,000 that goes to the U.S. Open Cup winner. The MLS Cup runner-up team gets $80,000. The Supporters' Shield-winning team gets $55,000.
If you’re the MLS Cup winner and you divide your $275,000 equally among 28 players, it comes out to $9,821 per player.