Money Trouble in Tinseltown

Billy Witz of the LA Daily News recently wrote a story about how the Los Angeles Galaxy continue to face salary cap problems. As part of that story, he interviewed defender Abel Xavier, who offered some insight into the issue.

"Luis (Figo) is my close friend. He would like to come to join the Galaxy," Xavier said. "Alexi Lalas is aware of that but there is a restriction on (designated) players.

"Players want to come here," he continued. "Perhaps some players don't realize the situation in MLS. They think it is very easy to come, but then there are the restrictions. If you want to target outside players, you must open the market. I can bring (Chelsea's Claude) Makelele, Figo, everybody who wants to come here, but as long as you have this rule, it's not possible."

The Galaxy's trio of Designated Players - David Beckham, Landon Donovan, and Carlos Ruiz - will account for 1/2 of the club's salary cap in 2008, a move that has GM Alexi Lalas looking at trimming the fat from the roster. Current efforts to pare down the current roster in order to somewhat comply with the MLS salary cap have some of the Galaxy's biggest contributors from 2007 worried about their future with the club.

Midfielder/defender Chris Klein said he has spoken to Lalas and head coach Ruud Gullit, who assured the 2007 Galaxy MVP that he is in their future plans.

Kyle Martino's future with the club seems to be more in doubt, as the 2002 MLS Rookie of the Year was left off the team's active roster for the Pan-Pacific Championship, even though he's perfectly healthy. Forward Carlos Ruiz will be making the trip to Hawaii, even though club officials acknowledge that there is no chance El Pescadito will see playing time in the tournament. It should be noted that getting rid of Martino would only save the club $55,297.

Pete Vagenas, once the team's captain, prefers not to discuss his place in the team with Lalas anymore; he was nearly traded to the Columbus Crew last year.

"I've always viewed this as a day-to-day, month-to-month, year-to-year thing," said Vagenas. "We try to stay away from Alexi. Usually when you're talking to Alexi, it's bad news."

Money issues led to the departure of defender Chris Albright last month. One of the Galaxy's most popular players, the U.S. international was traded to the New England Revolution for cash, a move that also rid the Galaxy of his salary ($142,500 in 2007) for the upcoming season.

Here's a list of several other Galaxy players who could be facing the ax, merely for monetary reasons:

Chris Klein - $187,250
Abel Xavier - $156,000
Edson Buddle - $150,000
Peter Vagenas - $131,875
Ante Jazic - $114,000 (injured)

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