Chivas USA strengthened its depth up front and on the backline and the Galaxy traded for a forward and made moves toward the future in Major League Soccer's draft Thursday in Baltimore.
Chivas got one of the prizes in the draft, taking with the fourth overall pick versatile defender Zarek Valentin -- among seven players selected from NCAA champion Akron -- then traded allocation money for another first-round selection and nabbed Ecuadoran forward Victor Estupiñan with the 14th pick.
The Galaxy's big move occurred before the draft began, with another trade meant to help fill the gap left by Edson Buddle's departure for Germany. L.A. acquired former UCLA forward Chad Barrett from Toronto FC for future considerations, then took midfielders with their draft picks.
Barrett, coach Bruce Arena said, is “an experienced player in MLS who has scored goals” -- 38 in six seasons -- “a player that we can certainly expect a lot more out of him than the [available forwards] we'd be taking out of the draft.”
The Galaxy took Uruguayan midfielder Paolo Cardozo with the 16th overall selection and Cal midfielder Hector Jimenez, from Bell Gardens (Bell Gardens HS), with the 33rd pick.
“We think they have some qualities we don't have in our team …” Arena said. “We need to be patient and place them in the right environment to develop to help our team. We're not expecting young, inexperienced players of this nature to step on the field and have an [immediate] impact.”
Arena said the Galaxy declined the option on winger Alex Cazumba's loan from Sao Paulo, but that Brazilian midfielder Juninho and defender Leonardo's loan deals had been extended.
Chivas, which took athletic Brown midfielder Jon Okafor in the third round, expect Valentin and Estupiñan to contibute immediately.
"We got two promising young players who could help us sooner than later,” said Goats coach Robin Fraser, who called Valentin “a solid player with a lot of leadership abilities, a lot of character -- a lot of things important as build this team.”
Valentin left Akron following his sophomore season to sign a Generation adidas contract, which means he won't count against Chivas' salary cap nor roster size. He was the third Zips player taken, following Hermann Award-winning forward Darlington Nagbe (to Portland with the No. 2 pick) and midfielder Perry Kitchen (to D.C. United with No. 3). Vancouver made 17-year-old forward Omar Salgado the surprise No. 1 selection. The full draft list is at MLS' website.
One of seven draft-day trades sent Yorba Linda's Steven Lenhart (Esperanza HS/Azusa Pacific) from Columbus to San Jose, and three other local players also were drafted: UC Santa Barbara left back Michael Tetteh by Seattle, former Cal State Fullerton midfielder Michael Farfan by Philadelphia, and Cal forward Davis Paul (Upland/Damien HS) by Chicago.