Jaqua Sent Packing By Galaxy

The Los Angeles Galaxy have decided to part ways with forward Nate Jaqua, agreeing to ship him to the Houston Dynamo in exchange for defender Kelly Gray and a second-round pick in the 2008 SuperDraft.

The deal, which is expected to be made official by the league on Tuesday, makes sense on paper as the Galaxy are desperate to find solid defensive help. Because of injuries, trades and national team call-ups, the Los Angeles defense has been a patchwork of ten different players fielded in defense through the first three months of the 2007 season.

It also marks the end of a frustrating stay in the City of Angels for Nate Jaqua. With many having high expectations for the 25-year-old at the start of the season, disappointment set in after he found the back of the net just once through the Galaxy’s first ten league games.Coming off the best year statistically of his young career, Jaqua’s nine goals with the Chicago Fire in 2006 caught the attention of several European clubs. Following his selection by Toronto FC in last November’s expansion draft, Jaqua appeared ready to become the next Yank abroad, declaring Los Angeles the only team in the league he’d be willing to sign with.

Enter Galaxy general manager Alexi Lalas, acting quickly to acquire Jaqua in hopes of bolstering an offense that ranked 10th out of 12 teams in 2006. “We’ve snatched an incredible talent from the jaws of the wolf that is European soccer,” he declared.

Game after game, that talent was not evident. As the losses started stacking up, many looked at Jaqua as the symbol of the season’s disappointing start.

The most frustrating part of the Jaqua saga was not just that he couldn’t get on the scoresheet (zero goals in his first eight games); it was the manner in which he kept missing. Never lacking effort on the field, his shots would rarely trouble the keeper. When the ball made its way to Jaqua in the attacking third, fans at the Home Depot Center would release a collective sound of unease, sensing that a turnover was imminent - and they were usually right.

His lone bright moment with the team came on June 17th in a home victory over Real Salt Lake, but it wasn’t without drama. As Jaqua slotted the ball past RSL keeper Nick Rimando, a defender raced back to clear the ball of the line, leaving many saying ‘Oh no, not again.’ But the defender’s clearing attempt ricocheted off the post and came right back to Jaqua, who never quit on the play, and thus he notched his first – and only – goal as a member of the Galaxy.

From a management standpoint, the move has bought a little more time for Lalas and head coach Frank Yallop to get results from this underachieving team. With the addition of Edson Buddle and Carlos Pavon, the return of Alan Gordon from injury and the emergence of Gavin Glinton, the Galaxy front office was finally given an excuse to banish Jaqua, whose personal struggles mirrored the team’s performance to date.

By doing away with Jaqua, the Galaxy hope to remove the albatross from around their neck before “The Arrival.” But if results don’t come now, they’ll have nobody left to blame… except themselves.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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