The Whitecaps had six on the list; Toronto FC had defender Danleigh Borman; and the Impact had two, despite having yet to play an MLS game (more on that later).
But, the reality for most of the players put on the waiver draft list is that they won’t be playing in MLS next season. Many need to start thinking about rebuilding themselves in NASL or another comparable league.
Last year, only two players were selected in the first round of the re-entry draft. Aaron Hohlbein didn’t play an MLS game this season; he went back to NASL. And Joseph Ngwenya played 16 games for D.C. United. Ironically, Ngwenya is back in the re-entry draft process this year, as the option year on his contract was declined. In the first round, players can’t take pay cuts, so teams have to accept the options of the players’ old deals or come up with comparable salary numbers. Players chosen in the second round have to give the clubs that select them exclusive negotiating windows, but bets are off in terms of how deals must be structured.
The draft was a product of the Collective Bargaining Agreement compromise struck between the league and the players union, averting a work stoppage in 2010. The idea was that it would allow out-of-contract players to move more freely, but allowed the league and its owners to avoid total free agency. Out-of-contract players would be entered into a new draft.
But, to have a successful draft, you need to have takers. And the majority of players on offer last year never left the shop window. There is no reason to believe this year will be anything different.
So, on top of trading winger Shea Salinas to the San Jose Earthquakes for allocation money, the Whitecaps declined the options on keepers Joe Cannon and Jay Nolly, defener Greg Janicki and midfielders John Thorrington and Peter Vagenas. Defender Jonathan Leathers, who was best known for making the tackle that sent FC Dallas star and reigning MVP David Ferreira to the disabled list for the remainder of the 2011 season, is out of contract and won’t be brought back.
All six of those players join Borman in the re-entry process; and the likelihood of any more than one moving to other MLS clubs is slim, based on the short history of the re-entry process.
The fact that both Cannon and Nolly are gone isn’t a huge surprise. Goalkeeping was a major issue for the Whitecaps this season, and it’s clear that a new corps is needed in between the sticks. It has to be priority No. 1 for the club this offseason.As for Montreal, two on-loan players appear on its list of players eligible for the re-entry draft. Striker Ryan Pore, who was on, ahem, loan from the Timbers and helped the Impact make a late push for an NASL playoff spot, is on the list. Pore was sent to Montreal in a deal that saw the Impact guarantee that it would not take any Timbers’ players in the expansion draft. And Canadian keeper Greg Sutton, who came over to Montreal on loan from the Red Bulls to back up starter Evan Bush, is also on the list. So why are two on-loan players on the Impact’s books?
Because, according to MLS, Montreal has until Friday to make moves to keep Pore and/or Sutton on its roster. Here is the explanation from the league’s New York HQ:
“The loan deals for Sutton and Pore included an option to acquire the player (complete the transfer) to Montreal.
“Montreal exercised the option to acquire the players from their respective MLS clubs but DID NOT exercise the options on their contracts. So Montreal has the rights to those players technically in MLS – but the players are not under contract.
“As of now — they are both eligible for Re-Entry. Montreal can continue to negotiate and try to sign them until Dec. 2 at 5pm E.T.
“If they are not signed, they may be acquired at their 2012 option price in the Stage 1 Draft by any club. If they are not selected in Stage 1, Montreal can continue to negotiate and try to sign the players until the signing deadline prior to Stage 2. During the Stage 2 Draft, they again can be acquired by any MLS club. If they are not selected in Stage 2 – they are available on a first come-first served basis.”
And, for Toronto and Vancouver fans, there are some more names of interest on the re-entry draft list. San Jose chose to decline the option on ex-TFC midfielder Jacob Peterson. Ex-TFC striker Maicon Santos had his option declined by FC Dallas; ex-TFC defender Hunter Freeman was set free by Houston, while the man TFC fans love to hate, all-time MLS leading scorer Jeff Cunningham, won’t be back with the Columbus Crew.
Ex-Whitecap Blake Wagner was put on the list by Real Salt Lake.
And, Chivas USA put Canadian defender Ante Jazic on the list. Yes, Jazic is in his mid-30s, but he’d be a significant upgrade for many teams in the fullback slot. He has become a regular starter for the Canadian national side. And, while his age and salary (US $115,000) is an issue, it’s hard to believe that a national-team starter can’t be of some value to someone.
All of the 69 players put on the lists can continue to negotiate with their current teams till Friday, and can have their names removed from the list at any time up to Friday.