Posted December 18, 2013

Three MLS Re-Entry Draft fits that make sense

Avi Creditor, D.C. United, FC Dallas, MLS, New York Red Bulls, Philadelphia Union, San Jose Earthquakes
David Ferreira

2010 MLS MVP David Ferreira is available for selection in the second phase of the league’s Re-Entry Draft Wednesday. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press/AP)

The second phase of the MLS Re-Entry Draft is slated for Wednesday afternoon, with 48 players still eligible to be selected.

The first phase had a surprising amount of action, considering the tendency in past years for teams to pass on taking players at their current contract options. Big names like Sean Franklin, Steve Zakuani and Bobby Boswell were among the five players on the move last week, thinning out the eligible player pool.

Players such as Chris Rolfe, Logan Pause, John Thorrington and David Horst are also no longer available, with the former three opting out of the draft — potentially to re-sign with their 2013 clubs — and Horst having his rights traded from Portland to Houston.

There are still a number of big MLS names are up for grabs, though, including recent MVPs Dwayne De Rosario and David Ferreira, former U.S. national team defender Heath Pearce and former Real Salt Lake and New York Red Bulls forward Fabian Espindola.

Here are three moves that make sense for teams in need of filling out their rosters:

HEATH PEARCE TO D.C. UNITED

D.C. has been splashing the cash on MLS-tested talent, selecting Sean Franklin and Bobby Boswell in the first phase of the Re-Entry Draft before shipping what Seattle GM Adrian Hanauer called a “large amount of allocation money” to the Sounders in exchange for Eddie Johnson.

STRAUS: D.C. acquires Eddie Johnson from Seattle

With the club, which has the first pick Wednesday, in need of a tested left back, enter Pearce, the former U.S. national team defender who was cast aside by the New York Red Bulls after having his season cut short with an injury. Pearce might not be at his peak anymore and might not come cheap (he was on the books for close to DP money in 2013, but teams can renegotiate new deals as part of the second phase), but desperate D.C. has shown it is willing to overpay for aging talent, and a back line featuring Pearce, Dejan Jakovic, Boswell and Franklin would be infinitely more stable than the shambolic unit that tried to protect goalkeeper Bill Hamid last season.

DAVID FERREIRA TO THE PHILADELPHIA UNION

The Union have a number of intriguing pieces, but a playmaking central midfielder is not one of them. With Kleberson’s albatross of a contract off the books, the club can afford to open up the checkbook for Ferreira, the league’s 2010 MVP who has accounted for nine assists in each of the last two seasons.

At 34, Ferreira isn’t going to be a long-term solution, but the Union need to be able to score more than the 42 goals they posted in 2013 to compete in a tightly contested Eastern Conference, and Ferreira could not only help provide a difference in the run of play for the likes of Jack McInerney, but he can also be an ace off set pieces.

Zakuani to Portland, Franklin and Boswell to D.C. in Re-Entry first phase

BRANDON BARKLAGE TO THE SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES

The San Jose Earthquakes had Ramiro Corrales retire, traded Justin Morrow to Toronto FC, and a report on MLSSoccer.com Tuesday suggested that Steven Beitashour is going to try his hand in Europe as he hopes to crack Iran’s roster at this summer’s World Cup. That leaves some gaps in fullback depth for the Earthquakes.

Barklage would fit the bill at right back, and he comes at palatable cost (he made a shade more than $71,000 in guaranteed compensation last year). After fending off injuries, the hard-working Barklage emerged as a valuable piece of the puzzle with the Red Bulls, and he’s able to get forward from his right back post. Fullback was once a position of strength for San Jose, but now the club finds itself in need of reliable options.

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