When we previewed last week's Round 1 of the inaugural MLS Re-Entry Draft, we predicted that there wouldn't be much action. And indeed, there wasn't. It took exactly 5 minutes and two players were selected - Joseph Ngwenya to DC United and Aaron Hohlbein to Columbus. In the interim Galaxy forward Jovan Kirovski was pulled off of the list as they negotiated a new contract. The remaining 32 players are still available for Round Two tomorrow and we turn our Nostradamus-like powers of foresight to it and predict that this one will be a lot more active. In fact, I suspect nearly every player will go somewhere.
There's really no downside to picking in this round. Whereas in Round 1 the picking team had to essentially take on the existing contract of the player (that's the short version), in Round 2 the team can renegotiate and even if the team and player can't come to an agreement, the team retains the rights to the player.
So on the assumption that most or all teams will be making picks, who can we expect to be available to the Sounders? Obviously positional needs, cap space, and other factors will influence teams' decisions, but the Sounders can expect to use their 9th pick on something like the 9th best player.
There are some metrics that we like around here that map decently well to ability — in particular PP90 and SGPM90 (that's Shots on Goal +/- per 90). Here's how the available players stack up by those measures, keeping in mind some significant caveats. Like PP90 is only relevant for attacking players and neither are particularly relevant for keepers. And both are sensitive to a sample size of decent playing time, so players like Ciaran O'Brien who haven't gotten any minutes are impossible to compare by this method. I've just given low-minute players (fewer than 200) blank stats.
|Guillermo Barros Schelotto||0.91||0.44|
|Juan Pablo Ángel||0.97||-0.49|
I've highlighted the players at the 6th-12th ranking by SGPM90, since that covers all of the positions and that's the area around where the Sounders will be picking. The leaders at SGPM90 are both Wizards (sorry, Sportings), which is no surprise given the phenomenal number of shots that Kansas City put on goal last season. The 6-12 area includes Schelotto — a central midfield playmaker who's come up in conversations here in the past — as well as Kovalenko — a central midfield reducer who's also come up. It's also a pretty old group. Schelotto is 37. Lopez is 36. Fred's a relatively spry 31. Tyrone Marshall is an interesting sight there for obvious reasons. Given that Keller is very likely to go only one more year, Seitz is also a compelling choice. But regardless, it sounds like the Sounders are going to have a tough time squeezing any contract under the cap. They may end up picking without any serious likelihood of negotiation just to gain a player's rights.
Any guesses or recommendations for the Sounders in tomorrow's draft? Think we're wrong and it'll be a quiet day? Like the look of some of the low-minutes guys like Federal Way's Ciaran O'Brien?