SBI Breakdown: Former MLS Cup MVP John McCarthy crosses the El Traffico divide

SBI Breakdown: Former MLS Cup MVP John McCarthy crosses the El Traffico divide

LAFC signed a new goalkeeper, so the Galaxy snatched up the rebound. John McCarthy has become the first shot-stopper to sign for both LA clubs and the third player to cross the El Trafico divide after signing a two-year contract with the LA Galaxy through 2025.

Two years ago, John McCarthy was unsure if he would sign another professional soccer contract. Now, he is changing clubs with the ambition to be an MLS starter. Two years ago, he was happy to sign for LAFC as a backup. Now, he’s not.

A lot has happened in the past two years. After playing just one game in the 2022 MLS regular season, McCarthy was called upon in the biggest moment imaginable in MLS Cup when Maxime Crépeau broke his leg in extra time. Aided by Gareth Bale’s late equalizer, McCarthy became the hero for LAFC, preventing a single goal in the penalty shootout to earn himself the MLS Cup MVP. In 2023, he used that accomplishment as a springboard to prove his quality.

With Crépeau recovering from injury, McCarthy started the vast majority of games for the Black and Gold last season, doing an admirable job, including a memorable save on Lionel Messi which earned him the Argentinian’s jersey postgame. He struggles with the ball at his feet but remains an impressive shot-stopper.

Hugo Lloris signing with LAFC made McCarthy’s decision an easy one. He had been in talks with LAFC about a potential return, but his desire to become a starter makes that less appealing after the arrival of a World Cup-winning competitor.

Ass painful as it may be for LAFC fans who view McCarthy as a hero, joining the Galaxy is the perfect option for a player aiming to be a starter, and also hoping to not have to move his young family one more time. McCarthy has a one-year-old son JJ with his wife Jackie who have moved around for the Philadelphia native’s career including stops with his hometown Union and Inter Miami. Now, he doesn’t have to go anywhere.

It is not only a good move for McCarthy, but for the Galaxy as well. Last season’s starter Jonathan Bond can make spectacular saves but is never consistent. He was also considerably overpaid for his underwhelming performances with a guaranteed compensation of $525,833. Comparatively, McCarthy brought in $121,667 in guaranteed compensation.

McCarthy is likely receiving a raise to join the Galaxy but will certainly still have a lower salary than Bond. Due to McCarthy’s acquisition and Bond’s exorbitant salary, the Galaxy should be expected to move Bond, with 22-year-old Novak Micovic ready to challenge McCarthy for the starting job after his loan was recently made permanent.

As it stands, the Galaxy currently have three starting-level goalkeepers on their roster with their newest addition being the frontrunner for the first-string job.

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