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Rapids Acquire Starters Herculez Gomez and Ugo Ihemelu from Galaxy

December 1, 2006 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Colorado Rapids News Release

DENVER, CO (December 1, 2006) -- The Colorado Rapids acquired today forward Herculez Gomez and defender Ugo Ihemelu from the Los Angeles Galaxy in exchange for goalkeeper Joe Cannon. The teams also swapped second round draft picks in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft with the Rapids receiving the 18th overall and sending the 23rd overall to Los Angeles.

"We are excited to be able to add two starters to our roster that will make our team stronger in two different positions," said Colorado Rapids Managing Director Jeff Plush. "Both Ugo and Herculez have developed into major contributors for their former club and we are looking forward to that continued contribution here in Colorado. We would also like to thank Joe for everything he did while playing for the Rapids over the last four years and wish him well in his native California."

Gomez has played in 53 regular season games in three years with the Los Angeles Galaxy. The Las Vegas native has scored 17 goals with one coming in the playoffs and has recorded five assists in his three year MLS career. His 11 goals in the 2005 season put him one short of the Galaxy's lead earning him the team's Most Valuable Player award.

Gomez, who worked his way from the Galaxy's reserve team at the beginning of the 2005 season, became a solid fixture in the team's offense by the end of that year. The skillful striker scored five goals in five games during the month of September of that season.

Ihemelu, who has played in 54 games over his two year MLS career, has only missed 10 matches in his short professional stint. The Texas native has started 52 of those 54 games and logged an impressive 4,641 minutes during the MLS regular season. Ihemelu played all 390 minutes of the Galaxy's run to the MLS Cup Championship in 2005.

From his defensive position, Ihemelu has one assist and was a Rookie of the Year contender in 2005. The Southern Methodist product was called into the U.S. men's national team training camp in January 2006 and earned his first cap in a match against Norway on January 29 when he came on as a substitute.

Cannon leaves Colorado as the team's all-time leader in eight goalkeeping categories including goals against average and save percentage. The Rapids traded multiple draft picks for Cannon's rights when he returned to MLS from the French first division side Lens.

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