(Editorial) – The LA Galaxy have locked down the 2016 goalkeeper position. Earlier this week, the club announced a trade for veteran Dan Kennedy with FC Dallas. The LA Galaxy received the 33-year-old keeper in exchange for a natural second and third round pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft.
This Dan Kennedy trade was a bargain for the LA Galaxy.
The Fullerton, CA native is a well-seasoned veteran of MLS. Kennedy was the one thing Chivas USA had going for them back in the day prior to Cubo Torres. He made at least 30 starts for Chivas from 2011-2014. He has had a SV% above 60% every year as a professional, despite being on some very poor defensive teams.
He made 16 starts for FC Dallas in 2015. Backup Chris Seitz started the first seven games of the season as Kennedy was having back spasms. Kennedy started as soon as recovered in late April. He started almost every game up until mid August when he injured his knee.
Academy product Jesse Gonzalez took over for Kennedy and started the final 11 games of the season, including every minute in the playoffs. Kennedy missed the entire month of September because of the knee injury. By the time he returned to the lineup, Gonzalez had impressed the coaching staff. The 20-year-old retained the starting job as Dallas went on to the Western Conference Finals.
When Kennedy was healthy, he was above Seitz on the depth chart. He only lost his starting position after Gonzalez established himself. Head Coach Oscar Pareja has built up an excellent young core in Frisco. It’s clear Gonzalez is the future at goalkeeper for FC Dallas as part of that modus operandi to play the kids.
FC Dallas wanting to trade Kennedy is more a function of circumstance than him having a drop in form. They’re going in a different direction at goalkeeper. Kennedy is still a very capable starter in MLS. He made $233,000 this year and that’s a lot of money to be sitting on the bench.
Dallas wanted to get something from him and get him off payroll to free up cap space. But a second and third round pick in the SuperDraft?
That was a steal for the LA Galaxy. The Galaxy most certainly will make the playoffs in 2016, meaning those draft picks will be in the bottom half of the round. The deeper they go, the later in the round those picks will be.
For the most part, only the first round of the SuperDraft is where you get a really impactful player. The talent and potential usually drops off after the first 10 picks or so.
Take the 2013 SuperDraft (players who just completed their third season of professional soccer) for example. Of the 19 players taken in the second round, only eight are still on MLS rosters. Only four have made more than 20 appearances in MLS: Ryan Hollingshead (42), Kofi Opare (27), Devon Sandoval (58), and Dylan Remick (33).
There was no third round in the 2013 draft. Of the 20 players taken in the third round in 2014, only three have made more than 10 appearances in MLS: George Fochive (11), Richie Marquez (21), and Adam Bedell (16).
The players the LA Galaxy gave up will be fringe players and projects. Many of them will not make the team. Many of them will need a few years playing with a USL affiliate before they are MLS ready. There are diamonds in the rough, but those are few and far between. LA gave up very little (possibly nothing) in this Dan Kennedy trade.
You would have thought FC Dallas would want more for a goalie who could start for about half the teams in the league. The only concern about Kennedy is that he wasn’t healthy in 2015, but his injuries where independent of each other (back and knee respectively). He’s been healthy and a work horse every other year he’s played in MLS.
Age wise, he’s in his prime as an American keeper. He’s from the area and is clearly happy to be home. He also is very strong coming off his line, something Jaime Penedo and Donovan Ricketts were both weak at. He’s perfectly capable of being the starter for the next two or three years. After that? Maybe Brian Rowe will be ready. Maybe Clement Diop will be ready.
Kennedy doesn’t need to be a Goalkeeper of the Year finalist. He needs to be reliable and consistent. He needs to be confident off his line. If he does that, the back line in front of him will take care of the rest. This Dan Kennedy trade gives the LA Galaxy a great chance to return to being one of the top defensive teams in the league (pending the outcome of the Omar Gonzalez situation).
And they didn’t even have to give up Bradford Jaimeson IV or something of similar value to get him.