With Edson Buddle off to Germany and an impasse in contract negotiations with Juan Pablo Angel, LA Galaxy has done some shrewd business over the past few weeks to fill the void at striker. Though he has bounced around three teams in three seasons, Adam Cristman was once a highly regarded striker in the league. A fourth round pick in '07, Cristman would be shortlisted for the Rookie of the Year award; and look like Taylor Twellman's replacement should he go off to Europe. Unfortunately, Cristman endured a serious knee injury that he still hasn't recovered from, and he has bounced around New England, Kansas City and DC in four seasons. If Cristman can stay fit, iron out his heavy touch and regain his pace he could be a valuable asset for LA. That's if he doesn't get cut in the pre-season. He could be Alan Gordan 2.0.
It is the acquisition of Chad Barrett, however, that could be a masterstroke in the off-season market. I like many have been very critical of Barrett. Say what you will, but a strikers job is to score goals. If a striker is farmed out to the wing it's because they can't score goals and typically once on the wing they can't cross the ball either. Barrett's saving grace has been his pace, but after two and a half seasons in Toronto, the new regime doesn't need to see anymore. LA was happy to take Barrett's wages on as they were still less than the DP contract Buddle wanted.
If you cast your mind back to 2007, LA's Tyrone Marshall broke Kenny Cooper's leg in a horrendous tackle. Later that night, Marshall was traded to Toronto for Buddle, and many supporters wondered why the club had traded for a striker who hadn't scored in 10 games all season. Buddle was now on his fourth team in three years. But unlike his previous teams Buddle would have better players around him, and would receive the service a striker craves. Buddle would score 42 goals in 87 games for LA and get a call up to the 2010 World Cup. Buddle's career was heading toward USL territory until LA saved it.
Chad Barrett has ventured down a similar path, and now finds himself in LA with last season's Supporter Shield winners. Barrett will have the leagues best player in Landon Donovan feeding him the ball, and it's very likely Barrett could reap the same rewards Buddle did. Since Barrett entered the league he has always had the potential and physical ability. Now he has players around him that can make him a better player and finally fulfill that potential. I don't believe LA will miss a step, and have done well to replace their top scorer. This will be Barrett's break out season, and would only be fitting as numerous ex-TFC players have gone on to greener pastures. Perhaps, that's a good sign for LA.