Zakuani heads to Portland, D.C. beefs up back line in MLS Re-Entry Draft
Well, so much for the first phase of the MLS Re-Entry Draft being a non-event.
D.C. United made two high-profile selections, and Steve Zakuani swapped one Cascadia rival for another in Thursday’s affair, with five selections being made in total.
D.C. used the first overall selection in the draft to pick up versatile right back Sean Franklin, who departs the LA Galaxy after winning two titles in six seasons. United also managed to bring back Bobby Boswell, plucking the veteran center back from Houston. The pair won’t come cheaply, as made a combined $445,000 in base salary last season, and D.C. must pick them up at their current option numbers.
Portland, meanwhile, made headlines by trading up in the order, swapping center back Andrew Jean-Baptiste to Chivas USA for Jorge Villafana and the No. 2 pick, which it used to take Zakuani. A Seattle fan favorite who overcame a career-threatening leg injury to return to the field, Zakuani heads to the rival Timbers and is reunited with college coach Caleb Porter, under whom he starred at Akron.
The selection led to a congratulatory tweet from Timbers owner Merritt Paulson, who did not shy away from giving a good-natured ribbing to Sounders fans.
The two other teams that did not pass with their selections were the Colorado Rapids and Philadelphia Union. Colorado took former Seattle left back Marc Burch, while Philadelphia picked up midfielder Corben Bone from the Chicago Fire.
The second phase of the draft is slated for next Wednesday.