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4 Players the Sounders should target in the Re-Entry Draft

It’s like free agency, without the free nor the agency.

MLS: Columbus Crew at New England Revolution Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

There are two phases to the Re-Entry Draft process. During Stage One a player “Clubs must exercise the option for, or extend a Bona Fide Offer to, all players selected in Stage One and may not select their own draft-eligible players.” That means that they would come in at a higher cap hit than their previous team felt they were worth. Stage One generally sees little movement. In Stage Two a team has seven days to negotiate with the player selected. A club can select their own players after the first round. Seattle picks 20th in both phases of the RED.

MLS heard that you loved drafts, so they’re bringing you the third draft in a week. First was the Expansion Draft. Then came the Waiver Draft. And now, we’ve got the first phase of the Reentry Draft. I was surprised to see 4 players get selected in the Waiver Draft early this week, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of the teams that are rebuilding their rosters are active in Friday’s Reentry Draft. I would, however, be very surprised if the Sounders were active on Friday. I think if they’re targeting any player from this talent pool, they’ll wait to select them in the second phase. Either way, here’s five players that potentially fit the Sounders’ needs.

Mike Grella

Grella become a bit of a cult hero during his time with the Red Bulls back in 2015 and 2016, but following those two productive seasons, he’s dealt with some injuries and a move to Columbus Crew SC. Still, I think the 31 year old wide midfielder/forward can bring value to the Sounders both on the field and in the locker room. His 2018 salary was at $195,000, which is why I would avoid him in phase 1, but Grella on or around the veteran minimum would be perfect for a seasoned option for the back end of the roster.

Donny Toia

Selected by Real Salt Lake in RED1

It’s kind of strange to suggest signing a defender from the worst defense in league history, but to Toia’s credit, he hardly played for Orlando in 2018. Toia was Orlando’s starting left back in 2017 and they felt they could upgrade on him for the following season. In 2015, he started for the Montreal Impact, and then they felt they could up upgrade on him for the following season.

Toia is 26 and on a salary of $125,004. If the Sounders intend on moving Waylon Francis on, and not bringing in a player considerably better than Nouhou and Brad Smith, I think Toia makes sense for a 3rd option at left back, and potentially the backup left back when Smith leaves next summer.

Luke Mulholland

Mulholland has spent his entire MLS career with Real Salt Lake since 2014. Before that, he had spent time in the lower divisions of American soccer, as well as some time in his home country England. His most prominent attribute is his ability to plug and play in a variety of different central midfield spots. For that reason, he could be extremely useful as a 4th/5th option at CM for Seattle. The 30-year old made $173,250 last year.

Jose Villareal

At one point, Villareal was considered one of the hottest prospects in MLS when he was with the Galaxy. For some reason, the pieces haven’t come together for him, and playing (or rather, not playing) for Orlando last year certainly didn’t help. He’s still only 25 years old and is obviously talented enough to become a decent player. Coming to Seattle in a low-risk type position might be helpful for him. The forward/attacking midfielder made $85,000 last season.

Ariel Lassiter

Another player that was once considered very promising when he turned pro from the Galaxy’s academy. I don’t know how much of that has to do with who he is as a player, or who his dad was, but either way, it’s a familiar story with the Galaxy’s inability to develop raw talent.

If the Sounders sign one of Lassiter or Villareal, I would prefer Villareal. But if the Sounders are indeed looking for a forward for the back end of the roster in the Reentry Draft, Lassiter would be a decent get.

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