The Galaxy went after local talent with three of their five selections in Tuesday's MLS Supplemental Draft, including a Cal State Northridge midfielder who impressed at the pre-draft combine.
Rafael Garcia (Canoga Park/Canoga Park HS) was taken at the end of the second round, 38th in the draft (and 76th overall, factoring in last week's SuperDraft), bolstering depth in the middle. Well, at least for the future.
“I think the challenge for these players is to make our roster,” said Galaxy head coach/general manager Bruce Arena, who nabbed San Diego forward/midfielder Stephen Posa and San Diego State right back Justin Davies in the fourth round. “I can't even look that far ahead to see if [any of them] are going to step on the field with our first team. The initial challenge is to make the roster.”
Arena took Bradley's Bryan Gaul, a 6-foot-5 forward-turned-defender, with his first pick, 19th overall, and Brazilian attacker Yuri Gorentzvaig, 21, who arrives from Flamengo system after spending the previous season with Corinthians.
Gaul, whose little sister, Alexa, is a U.S. youth international, scored 23 goals the past two seasons at Bradley, but he was used primarily in the back at the combine. That's where the Galaxy, in need of defensive cover, see his future.
“He's left-footed, can play center back or left back, and we're going to look at him in that position,” Arena said. “Hopefully he'll be able to adapt. He's a kid we think has a chance. That's why we drafted him.”
Garcia, just 5-6, is a defensive-oriented central midfielder who grew up a Galaxy fan. He was a four-year starter for the Matadors and a first-team All-Big West Conference selection in 2011.
“He just looks like he's comfortable playing in the center of the field,” Arena said. “Whenever we can have the opportunity to have some local players compete to be on he Galaxy roster, I think that's a real plus.”
Posa, an all-region selection who can play on the right side of midfield, and Davies were four-year college starters. Posa is from San Diego, and Davies grew up in Massachusetts.
Gorentzvaig was one of six foreign players the league signed in advance of the combine. Arena said he believed the Brazilian was acquired on transfer rather than in a loan deal but that he was not certain. MLS officials had not yet responded to a query on his status.
WORTH NOTING: Arena said the Galaxy expect to have one trialist on hand when camp opens this weekend, but it's “not somebody who's going to make headlines on the front of the sports page.” L.A. gathers for medical exams Saturday and hit the field Monday. ... Arena said everybody on the roster is expected to be present for the start of camp aside from those on loan (Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane) or with the U.S. national team (A.J. DeLaGarza) and under-23 team (Michael Stephens and Brian Perk). He didn't mention injured defender Omar Gonzalez, but that's a given. Asked if David Beckham would be expected if his contract is completed by the weekend, Arena said: “I think the players I indicated are the ones we expect to be out. The other ones we anticipate will be here for preseason.”