I had to go to dinner last night and so didn't really finish. So here's an update to my draft concept, but also some major news by way of Ives. "Seattle Sounders FC Closing in on Schmid" That would be Sigi, easily one of the two best coaches in the league's short history. Ives also says that one of his two assistants will come with him here to the Sound, and that Schmetzer will be the other assistant in Rave Green.
I won't pretend I know the league will enough to guess who is going to be drafted by Adrian and crew. A few of these guys are truly obscure, some of them have odd contract clauses, some are going to retire and a few are basically committed to foreign clubs already. With four players under contract and all with Senior Roster status that makes this guessing game a little more difficult. To make it a step tougher, no player drafted can be on the Developmental Roster. Another note is that the SuperDraft is in January, and SSFC currently holds the first pick. That first pick is likely a player who would deserve a Senior slot, but the others would be guys who are likely to be developmental. Lastly, Sounders FC has to save a slot from all of that for the Super Search winner. Almost certainly a developmental slot, but still. Seattle Sounders FC has 9 of its USL discoveries left to use. There's still the Freddy Montero situation. Hanauer and others will likely want to bring on some more mid/low level international talent in the January window using allocation dollars, or ideally a second DP.
Taking all of that into account I am likely to work under the following assumptions. Seattle will draft 10, but likely trade up to 3 of those players away. Sounders FC should work under the operating assumption that few if any of the players they keep will renegotiate for less money (to include Jaqua and Prideaux) They have a budget for this, because the USL Sounders, SuperDraftees and Internationals that will be signed need to get paid. Currently they have about 700k$ of about 2,400k$ leaving them with 1,700k$. I am going to use this assumption and have them draft and retain about 1M$ worth of contracts.
Here's the list at SbI With the first pick I'm going for the easy one Nate Jaqua, Houston Dynamo - A target forward he's put up great numbers. 11 starts, 3 subs for 4 goals and 4 assists on one of the best clubs in the league. I think it would take a first round pick to trade for him, and that's just not worth it. That's 174k spent.
Next I'm going for a young player who was one of the youngest all-stars ever and who just raised the cup in victory. Eddie Gaven, Columbus Crew - he's a midfielder/forward type, and sure we already have several of those, but with his age he could set the club up well for the future. He might even generate international interest. Last year he made 165k and would likely get a raise, but I have to go with known numbers at this time. Gaven makes huge sense now, as he knows our likely coach's system.
I've got more coming later, but the duties of real life call.
I think Ely Allen is another one that I would take. Not just because of the local ties, but also due to the youth, and it is a minor hit on LA who I want to build some good will with as they will be interested in some of the other talent that is going to be acquired. Allen would get a bump to the Senior squad and triple his salary. 33k is the cap hit.
Next up is help for the defense to add to the Graham/Jackson tandem. Brandon Prideaux of the the Chicago Fire. He's a solid defender and does not make absurd money (72k). He's a Renton, WA native, which is a plus, but the fact is he's one of the better defender's available. He's got two MLS Cups and can play any defensive position, a plus for a team still developing an identity.
Those are my four locks, as in I actually feel that all four are going to be drafted.
I personally would take the troubled Parke from RedBull NewYork. He's got experience, and is cheap (59k) but due a raise. He might look to go to Europe in order to get away from the suspension, but if I'm Hanauer I offer him the opportunity to play after his suspension is served. Seattle will need depth with the likely emphasis on the Open Cup. Parke is a Philly native, and drafting him might ensure that SSFC knows who they would lose in the next Expansion Draft.
From there its all about tactics and strategy, not players for the Senior Roster.
Step One I talk to FC Dallas and let them know that I'm willing to take the worst contract in MLS off their hands, Dulio Davino. His contract is at 400k, but I let Dallas know that if I take Davino I will draft them someone off of a few teams to send their way for their Designated Player slot, that they wouldn't use anyway. If they shoot that down, I ask for significant allocation dollars to help fund a one time payment that isn't a cap hit to an international that will be signed in January. If Dallas is silly enough to give the DP slot, that might lead me to draft the excellent, but injured in '08, Marcelo Gallardo. The cap hit for that would be 325k, but that still has me below my goals for the Expansion draft. It also would mean that at forward I would have Gallardo and Jaqua with midfielders of LeToux, Ljungberg, Gaven, Nyassi. That's a hell of an attack when healthy.
But if Dallas doesn't trade the DP slot they are unlikely to use, and maybe if they do, I don't take Gallardo. In these circumstances I talk to Bruce Arena and who ever else thinks they are in charge of in Galaxy land and ask them which of the Keepers they are willing to acquire from me for allocations. They can pick any keeper not on TFC, Houston, Chicago, Dallas or Columbus. I remind them that I didn't harm them by taking Allen. There's some decent talent out there that they NEED, not want.
Maybe you noticed that I just said TFC, but haven't suggested taking anyone. That's because I think there is a great talent available in Rohan Rickets. He has time with Arsenal and Tottenham, so knows a player or two already on this club, but he's also signed to his value (212k). Rohan has played with two Premiership clubs and two Championship clubs. That's a fair resume. TFC can keep him if they deal some allocation cash, which they have a lot of, or a draft pick or two. If they don't take him, that's fine, I would be happy to have him wear the Rave Green.
At this point I have added between 4 to 6 players who will be starters for the '08 club, significant allocation funds and/or a second designated player slot. With the remaining 2 or 3 picks I'm going with youth and I trust Hanauer to pick the right guys, but with this strategy we have a added offense and defense, locals and internationals and remained within our self-selected budget.
For the roster
Purely for DP/Allocation Funds
For Allocation Funds/Draft Picks
Whatever Keeper LA wants
To try and blackmail TFC/reunite with Freddie
This would be under a 1 Million dollar cap hit, leaving Seattle with plenty of money to sign their USL discoveries/USLSounders, to sign a January transfer or two, to allocate towards Montero and to have one or two Senior player from the SuperDraft.