Billy Witz has the story on Ty Harden retiring.
Something doesn't feel right to me about this. Pure speculation on my part, but I wonder if Harden isn't taking a year off so he can then unretire and join Seattle when they come into the league in 2009. It wouldn't be the first time a player has pulled this off - in his playing days, Alexi Lalas "retired" and left the Kansas City Wizards in October of 1999 only to sign with the Galaxy in Jan 2001.
Such a move is pretty much the only way Harden could control his destiny. As a lower-rung player, he doesn't have a lot of pull to go where he'd like. Seattle would place him relatively near his hometown of Junction City, Oregon. Harden also attended the University of Washington in Seattle, and probably has many friends and perhaps even a sweetheart in the area. He might have considered it worth the risk to take a year or so off, work a local job, and then hook up with the newest MLS team.
It's ironic that the Galaxy, who are usually the beneficiaries of players wanting to be near LA, may have gotten burned by someone willing to sacrifice to be elsewhere instead.
In the scramble for a replacement, the Galaxy traded to get Greg Vanney from DC United. I think this is a poor move, because Vanney has lost more than a step. He's simply cumbersome these days, and his vast experience and good positioning isn't enough to compensate for that. Going to DC for Vanney is young Quavas Kirk.
Galaxy fans who remember Kirk's various injury problems may not consider his leaving much of a loss, but I'd remind them of how much potential Kirk showed whenever he was healthy. He is big, strong and fast, with a striker's experience when getting forward.
I just talked to Kirk on Wednesday and asked about his injury. He flashed that big grin of his and said he was "all good". It would be just the Galaxy's luck that Kirk is finally really fit and remains injury-free when he's gone.