The Byzantine rules regarding players coming into MLS are usually impossible to understand, particularly for outsiders. On Wednesday, the abstract math ended up with onetime U.S. international Cory Gibbs joining the Colorado Rapids and the Los Angeles Galaxy retaining the right of first refusal on the next incoming player, presumably Eddie Lewis.
Originally, the Galaxy seemed to be Gibbs' likely destination because L.A. had the first spot in the allocation list, which is used to determine where certain incoming players wind up, and because the club was in desperate need of defensive help. The Galaxy have the worst defense in MLS, having conceded 40 goals in 19 matches.
But the Galaxy imploded this week, letting head coach Ruud Gullit "resign" -- Gullit was also Gibbs' coach at Feyenoord in 2004-05 -- and firing president Alexi Lalas. Under interim head coach Cobi Jones, the club decided to pass on Gibbs with hopes of obtaining Lewis once he has signed with the league. (Confused yet?)
Lewis, the longtime U.S. international, is set to leave English side Derby County in the wake of the Rams' relegation from the Premier League. A native of Southern California, the former San Jose Earthquakes midfielder is only interested in joining the Galaxy, sources tell Goal.com.
The timing of the Lewis deal is still unconfirmed.
The Rapids, holding the second spot in the allocation draft, then gave Gibbs the nod. The 6-foot-1 defender has had a tumultuous career. Blessed with the physical tools to be world-class, he has suffered several horrific injuries in the past few years and undergone several major reconstruction surgeries.
The 28-year-old defender began his professional career in 2001 with St. Pauli, then in the Bundesliga. After the Hamburg club was relegated, he spent one season in Dallas and then returned to Europe with Dutch powerhouse Feyenoord. He also spent time on loan to ADO Den Haag before making a move to Charlton Athletic in England. Injuries, however, continued to ravage the native Floridian, and he made no appearances for the Addicks in two seasons.
In Colorado, he walks into a good situation for an experienced defender. The Rapids are struggling in sixth place in the Western Conference and need help on the back line.
"Any time you can add a defender with experience at a high level it is a positive," Colorado head coach Fernando Clavijo said in a statement. "Cory is a solid player and can play both centrally and wide on the backline and will add leadership to the team."