The Philadelphia Union lost veteran midfielder Fred and former starting goalkeeper Chris Seitz, and did not make any of its own selections in today's second round of the MLS Re-Entry Draft.
The Re-Entry Draft allows players who are out of contract to move to new clubs and negotiate new deals. It is a limited form of free agency, and was created in the most recent collective bargaining agreement between the league and its players' union.
Seitz was taken by Seattle and Fred was taken by New England. Many observers (myself included) thought the Union, which held the No. 3 pick, would take former New York Red Bulls striker Juan Pablo Ángel. But the Union passed, and once a team passes it canot make any more picks.
In the first stage of the re-entry draft, which took place last week, players who were selected were signed to predetermined contracts. Because of that, only two players were drafted: Houston's Joseph Ngwenya was taken with the first pick by D.C. United, and Kansas City's Aaron Hohlbein was taken by Columbus.
The salary rules for players drafted in Stage 2 are as follows, according to the league:
In Stage 2, clubs may select from players that are under contract and those not under contract. If a player is not under contract, the drafting club will be required to make a genuine offer to the player within seven days. In the event that an agreement cannot be reached between the drafting club and an out-of-contract player, the drafting club will hold the right of first refusal for that player in MLS. Clubs may select their own players in Stage 2 only after all other clubs have declined to select those players.
If a player is not selected in either stage of the Re-Entry Process, that player will be available on a first come first serve basis to all clubs.
You can read the complete set of rules here
Here is the list of players taken today, in order of selection:
D.C. United: Josh Wolff, forward (was with Kansas City)
Chivas USA: Jimmy Conrad, defender (was with Kansas City)
New England: Ryan Cochrane, defender (was with Houston)
Los Angeles: Juan Pablo Ángel, forward (was with New York)
Chicago Fire: Cory Gibbs, defender (was with New England)
Kansas City: Frankie Hejduk, defender (was with Columbus)
Seattle: Chris Seitz, goalkeeper (was with Philadelphia)
Columbus: Jeff Cunningham, forward (was with FC Dallas)
Los Angeles: Luke Sassano, midfielder (was with New York)
Colorado: Tyrone Marshall, defender (was with Seattle)
New England: Fred, midfielder (was with Philadelphia)
Any teams not listed as having made picks passed on their opportunities.
This was about as bad for the Union as it could possibly have been. Losing Fred is the biggest blow, because he brought creativity and veteran experience to the team's midfield. While I'm sure many of you won't mind seeing Seitz go, his departure leaves the Union with only one goalkeeper on the roster at the moment. That is a problem, even if it may be solved soon by signing Faryd Mondragon.
I happen to think the Union, and really any club, should have three goalkeepers on its roster: a starter, a backup if the starter is injured, and a reserve if the backup gets sent off in a game. Yes, it's a roster spot, but it's how a lot of clubs operate.
As for the Union not taking any players, that surprised me. Whether they would have taken Ángel or anyone else, I still think there was a lot of value for money among the players available.
Having said that, all the players drafted today do have to agree to contracts with the clubs that selected them. And players not drafted are now available for any club in the league to sign on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Peter Nowak will address the media in a conference call at 3:00 p.m. That should be an interesting conversation.
What do you think of today's events so far?