MLS Re-Entry Draft XI 2015: Three released Whitecaps feature

By Jamie Dawe

With the first round of the MLS Re-Entry Draft closing in, it would seem an appropriate time to form a side with the best eleven players from the 60 that are eligible for the 2015 Re-Entry process.

Players eligible for the draft must be at least 23 and have a minimum of three years of MLS experience or be at least 25 with a minimum of four years of MLS experience – which makes this group more exclusive and hence why there’s only 60 players available! So, here we go.

GK: Tally Hall – Age 30 – released by Orlando City

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After tearing his ACL in August 2014, Hall lost a starting berth that had been his for four-straight years at the Dynamo. Once he recovered from his ACL injury, Hall found himself in new surroundings in Orlando and quickly became the expansion side’s first choice. However, following another injury blow, the Lions deemed him surplus for their second season in MLS. This two-time MLS All-Star provides an opportunity not to be missed in the draft.

RB: Steven Beitashour – Age 28 – Released by Vancouver Whitecaps

This Californian born Iranian international not only carries tonnes of experience with him, but was arguably one of the most solid right-backs in the league this season. With 27 regular season starts and five assists, he played an important role in the Whitecaps’ second place Western Conference finish. Beitashour will be a solid pick for any side in need of a starting right-back but he won’t come cheap.

LB: Kevin Alston – Age 27 – Released by New England Revolution

Alston has made his name as a solid but speedy wingback since the Revs drafted him in 2009. He’s a solid option at left or right back and is certainly a player who can expect to be drafted early on.

 

CB: Tommy Meyer – Age 25 – Released by LA Galaxy

The second youngest player on this team, Meyer has plenty of time to grow into the starting defender that he’s never been given the chance to become during his four-year spell at the Galaxy. 26 regular season starts relatively evenly spread over the four years show that Meyer has always been on the peripherals of a team that has had some good centre-backs. Meyer is capable of grabbing a spot on the roster of almost any MLS side and will expect to be drafted on Friday.

CB: Pa Modou Kah – Age 35 – Released by Vancouver Whitecaps

Seattle Sounders vs Vancouver Whitecaps Pa-Modou Kah Celebrates

The oldest man on this list, Kah is still a viable option as a starting centre-back for at least one more season. Born in Gambia, but a former Norwegian international, Kah knows how to command a back line and even chipped in with three goals for the Whitecaps during the 2015 regular season.

CDM: Jeb Brovsky – Age 27 – Released by New York City FC

The ultimate utility man. Brovsky could have been positioned anywhere across the back line and anywhere in the centre of midfield but holding midfield seems to suit him best. He never quite seemed to settle into his best form in the extremely porous NYCFC defence but he will hope to find another home within MLS now.

CM: Boniek Garcia – Age 31 – Released by Houston Dynamo

At 31, Garcia’s future will surely be in the middle of the park – or possibly in a more attacking central role, rather than out wide. With 12 goals and 18 assists in 89 MLS games for Houston, Garcia has proven what he is capable of and he has to be seen as a viable option for any side looking to pick up a robust option to cover attacking options in midfield.

CM: Mauro Rosales – Age 34 – Released by Vancouver Whitecaps

Rosales enjoyed a solid 2015 season with Vancouver and will be disappointed not to be staying with the Canadian side. The Argentinian midfield enforcer has proved to be a reliable option since moving to MLS in 2011 and will hope his age doesn’t stop a team from bringing him in for the 2016 campaign.

LW: Marco Pappa – Age 28 – Released by Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders vs FC Dallas  Marco Pappa

Pappa started only half of the regular season games for the Sounders this season, but in that time he managed to contribute three goals and six assists. At 28, he certainly has the ability to contribute to a team for at least another few years as a starting option and carries invaluable playoff experience, having played ten postseason games with the Sounders and Chicago Fire since 2008.

RW: Robbie Findley – Age 30 – Released by Toronto FC

Findley is a capable starter and also a great bench option for most MLS teams. He has 40 MLS goals and 18 assists to his name across eight seasons in the league. Findley can add an injection of pace into any MLS attack and a spark of fear into any opposing backline. He also offers five years of MLS Cup Playoff experience from his time in Real Salt Lake and could prove invaluable to an MLS side looking for attacking reinforcements.

ST: Maximiliano Urruti – Age 24 – Released by Portland Timbers

Urruti is an incredibly gifted forward with an eye for goal and now an MLS Cup Champions medal under his belt. At just 24, Urruti has buckets of talent to offer any MLS side. Urruti has been used predominantly off the bench in Portland, starting only 28 of his 67 regular season appearances, but he’s capable of staking a starting berth in an MLS side – possibly one looking to rebuild with young talent.

These are only 11 of the 60 players available in the draft. Who do you think should be included in this team that’s not listed above and why?

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MLS News Roundup – Thursday January 22

There’s been a lot going on in the world of Major League Soccer over the past 24 hours so it’s a good time to round up all the news in one place.

Six of the 20 MLS clubs return to preseason training today and the 2015 season is drawing ever closer.

Here are the top stories you need to know about:

1) Colorado Rapids will host the 2015 MLS All-Star Game

The MLS All-Stars are going back to Denver for the second time ever as the Colorado Rapids’ Dick’s Sporting Goods Park will host the 2015 game. Rapids coach Pablo Maestroni will coach a team of stars that is likely to include new faces Kaka and David Villa to name just a couple. An opponent has not yet been named but we’re expecting a big name as Chelsea, AS Roma and Bayern Munich have taken on the All-Stars in the past three seasons.

2) Michael Bradley says MLS free agency is worth a player strike if it comes to it

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Major League Soccer is currently in negotiations with the MLS Players’ Union over a new collective bargaining agreement as the current one is set to expire at the end of the month. One of the key issues being discussed is player free agency and Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley has said it is an issue worth going on strike over, if an agreement cannot be reached.

“We want what’s best for the league, we want to help this league grow and continue to push forward in every possible way,” Bradley said. “But it is time for some changes in the way that things are done and I think that in the end we’ll find a good way to get all that done.”

3) Michael Essien on FC Dallas radar but midfielder rejects first offer

AC Milan midfielder Michael Essien is set to move again. His current contract expires at the end of the season and Milan are not willing to offer him a new deal. The former Chelsea man does not want to return to the Premier League and is keen on a switch to MLS. FC Dallas have made an offer to the Ghanaian but he has reportedly rejected that.

4) Fabian Espindola rewarded by DC United with Designated Player contract

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Fabian Espindola was arguably DC United’s best player last season and the club have rewarded him for a fine 2014, in which he scored 11 goals and picked up 9 assists, by giving him a Designated Player contract. DC United General Manager Dave Kasper said: “Fabian is coming off his best year in MLS last season and he deserves to be a Designated Player. He is in the prime of his career and we look forward to his future contributions to our club.” However, Espindola won’t be available to play for the first six games of 2015 as he will serve a suspension picked up for pushing an official in the MLS Playoffs.

5) Montreal Impact confirm signing of Belgian international Laurent Ciman

The Montreal Impact have bolstered their defence with the addition of 29-year-old centre-back Laurent Ciman from Standard Liege. Ciman has spent his entire career in Belgium and was a part of the national team’s World Cup squad last summer. Better still, Ciman will not occupy a Designated Player contract in Montreal and he will be a key leader for the team in 2015.

6) Vancouver Whitecaps sign former Timbers defender Pa Modou Kah

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Another Canadian club have made a move to strengthen their backline as the Vancouver Whitecaps have signed Pa Modou Kah. The former Portland Timbers centre-back will bring plenty of experience to the side and head coach Carl Robinson thinks he is an important addition: “Kah is an athletic center back with a wealth of experience, both in MLS and abroad. Not only does he bring experience, but also great character, and that will be equally important to our team.”

7) FC Dallas acquire Toronto FC midfielder Kyle Bekker in trade for allocation money

Toronto FC have parted ways with Canadian midfielder Kyle Bekker as the 24-year-old has joined FC Dallas in exchange for allocation money. Bekker made 29 appearances over two seasons with Toronto after being selected with the third overall pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft.

8) Bradley Wright-Phillips refusing to change despite everything else doing so around him

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A lot has changed in New York since the end of the 2014 season. Thierry Henry has hung up his boots. Mike Petke has been fired and replaced by Jesse Marsch. But Bradley Wright-Phillips won’t be changing, despite the fact that he’ll be playing with the added pressure of a Designated Player contract this year. The 29-year-old tied the MLS single season goalscoring record in 2014 with 27 goals and he’s going to go about things the same way in 2015.

“I had an interview [with the Red Bulls] at the end of the season, I told them, ‘Don’t expect any wonders. You’re going to get what you got from me this season.’ I don’t go into a game without running hard, working hard, trying to score goals. That’s exactly what I’ll do this season,” he said on Tuesday. “If they’re expecting something more, they will be disappointed, I can let you know that now. If you are expecting me to be Thierry Henry, you will be disappointed.”