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Re-Entry Draft, Round Deux: Proof that the owners won the CBA battle

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Cory Gibbs
Eleven of the 32 players available, just more than a third, were selected in phase two of the MLS Re-Entry Draft Wednesday afternoon.

If all of the 11 players chosen today come to terms, that means a grand total of 13 out-of-contract players were able to find work. Only two — and both were minor deals — were taken in the first round, where players are guaranteed to make in 2011 at least what they did in 2010. The other 11 will likely all go for less money than they did in 2010.

“Likely” is the key word here. Under the rules of the MLS Re-Entry Draft — which was the grand compromise forged by MLS and its players’ union last March to avert a work stoppage that would have jeopardized the 2010 season — a team that selects someone in the second round gets exclusive negotiating rights with that player; and it’s up to the agent and team to work something out. If, after a week, a deal can’t be reached, the team holds the first right of refusal if that player wants to move to another MLS club.
Thirteen players? That’s less than one per team.

Now that the Re-Entry Draft has gone through two rounds, we can finally judge the CBA: A massive win for the owners.

Big names on the move? Some, all likely to take pay cuts. Former Designated Player Juan Pablo Angel moves to Los Angeles, where he could team with Edson Buddle and create a strike partnership that could rival Colorado’s dynamic duo of Conor Casey and Omar Cummings.

Jeff Cunningham, the second all-time scorer in MLS history, will likely get the chance to pass Jaime Moreno as a member of the Columbus Crew, where he scored the bulk of his goals. Cunningham will likely finish his MLS career with the team where he enjoyed his halcyon days. And Toronto FC fans get just one more reason to despise the Crew all that much more.

Seattle took Chris Seitz, the keeper who started for the Americans at the 2007 U-20 World Cup in Canada, but had a disastrous, error-prone campaign for the Philadelphia Union in 2009. Seattle later dealt him to FC Dallas. He’s a reclamation project, but an interesting one — and working as a No. 2 to veteran Kevin Hartman may give Seitz some needed time to mature.

Toronto FC which needs at pretty well every spot other than defensive midfielder, passed on a variety of players.

D.C United took 33-year-old U.S. national team vet Josh Wolff with the first pick in the Re-Entry Draft’s second round.

Two notable defenders also got new jobs: Cory Gibbs is on the wrong side of 30, but he has played in the Dutch Eredivisie and has a ton of experience. Chicago grabbed him, knowing that Wilman Conde, the team’s old defensive general, is moving on to Mexican side, Atlas.

Sporting Kansas City, who didn’t renew U.S. national teamer and long-time Wizards’ defender Jimmy Conrad a new offer, took another U.S. national team vet, Frankie Hejduk, from Columbus. But Hejduk, who you might have thought would have been part of a plan to rebuild a Conrad-less backline, was sent via trade to Los Angeles shortly after the draft.

Conrad was available, but went undrafted — as did 2008 MLS MVP Guillermo Barros Schelotto.

Nick Garcia, the defender Toronto FC tossed into the draft pool, wasn’t picked.

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