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L.A. Galaxy win big with offseason moves


Question marks surrounded the Los Angeles Galaxy after one of the best seasons in Major League Soccer history in 2011. The Galaxy captured the MLS Supporter's Shield trophy with the best regular season record in the league, posted an unbeaten record at the Home Depot Center, advanced to the Quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League, and capped off a dream season with their third MLS Cup Championship. Any questions about the roster have been answered and then some.



L.A. Galaxy, MLS, and U.S. Soccer corespondent for Team 1010 KXPS SportsRadio.

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Arguably the biggest offseason move came in mid January when David Beckham ended months of speculation about his future in MLS by signing a two-year contract to stay in Los Angeles. The Galaxy will look to Beckham to anchor the midfield after coming off his finest season in MLS; a season in which Beckham finished second in the league in assists with 15 and took home the MLS Comeback Player of the Year award.

In a surprise move, Edson Buddle returned to the Galaxy on February 1 after a year in the German second division with Ingolstadt. Buddle scored 17 goals for L.A. in 2010 and competed in the 2010 World Cup. L.A. clearly missed Buddle's finishing touch in 2011, prompting the team to part ways with Juan Pablo Angel and to acquire Robbie Keane during the stretch run. The move may prove to be vital in season where Keane is expected to miss time playing for Ireland in the European Championship.

Anticipating losing dynamic midfielder Juninho, the Galaxy acquired fellow Brazilian Marcelo Sarvas. On February 7 in another surprising move, the Galaxy reacquired Juninho by extending his loan with Sao Paulo. LA is now equipped with perhaps the most talented midfield in MLS history with Beckham, Juninho, Donovan, Sarvas, and the versatile Mike Magee.

The lone blemish on the Galaxy offseason came when defender Omar Gonzalez tore a knee ligament during his first practice with Nuremberg of Germany's Bundesliga. Gonzalez joined Nuremberg on an offseason loan which ended as soon as it began. Gonzalez was voted the MLS defender of the year in 2011. The Galaxy will rely on Brazilian defender Leonardo who rejoined the team with Juninho after tearing two ligaments in his knee after seven games last season.

The Galaxy resume CONCACAF Champions League play with a tilt on March 7 in Toronto against Toronto FC and begin the quest for the 2012 MLS Cup on March 10 against Real Salt Lake at the Home Depot Center. After several key moves, the chances of L.A. adding both pieces of hardware seem stronger than ever.