The Re-Entry Draft turned out to be far more interesting than previous editions, especially from the Seattle Sounders' standpoint. Both Steve Zakuani (to the Portland Timbers) and Marc Burch (to the Colorado Rapids) were among the players selected in Stage 1 of the draft on Thursday. That means both players will be due raises over their current salaries, which is a major reason they were made available in the first place.
While Zakuani's departure was somewhat expected, that he'll be playing for the Timbers is a bitter pill. The Timbers moved up to the No. 2 spot in the draft in order to select Zakuani, sending highly-touted defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste to Chivas USA as part of the transaction. The Timbers also got Jorge Villafana as part of the deal, but the ability to pick up Zakuani seems to have been a significant part.
The move is not without risk, of course. While Zakuani was once considered one of the top attacking wide midfielders in MLS, he has never been quite the same since Brian Mullan broke his leg in 2011. Zakuani was able to return in 2012 and seemed to be on pace to regain his starting spot in 2013, but more injuries set him back.
After opening the season as a starter, and showing some signs of being his old self, he ended up only playing eight matches and 492 minutes. He finished with just one assist. The biggest issue was a groin injury that effectively sideline him for most of the season's final six months. His last Sounders appearance, coincidentally, came against the Timbers on Oct. 13, a game in which he hit the crossbar on what would have been a late equalizer.
Zakuani doesn't seem to have any hard feelings.
Even during my lowest moments I had the support of Adrian, Chris, Sigi, and the coaching staff. I am grateful for that— Steve Zakuani (@stevezakuani11) December 12, 2013
Burch's tenure with the Sounders was far less memorable. The Sounders picked Burch ahead of the 2012 season in the Re-Entry Draft. He ended up playing 29 matches, mostly at left back, in 2012 and had three assists. Last year, the Sounders tried him more often at left midfielder, where he was reasonably productive with four assists in just 1,158 minutes. Burch was likely due a raise on his $75,000 salary.
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- Sounders trade Mauro Rosales to Chivas USA for Tristan Bowen, Allocation Ranking spot
- Reign Send Marshall Back to Portland For First-Round Pick