The usual milestones for the Major League Soccer offseason are already flying by in the days after the Portland Timbers WON THE MLS CUP. Yesterday saw every team except the Colorado Rapids pass in the MLS Waiver Draft, while today will see the first round of the Re-Entry Draft, the dispersal mechanism for those players not tenured enough for Free Agency, held at noon.
The first round of this draft is typically slim pickings for teams, as players taken must automatically have their options picked up or be extended an offer 5% over their current salary if they are out of contract. The second round of the Re-entry Draft, to be held on the 17th, gives teams more flexibility by allowing them to offer lower contracts to players rather than being locked in to the player's contract options.
For the Portland Timbers there are several attractive prospects available in the draft, particularly with the team in need of reinforcements at fullback and striker, following the team's post MLS Cup turnover. However, as a side effect of the Timbers' success in 2015, the Timbers have the last overall pick in the draft and will need to either hope that the players they want fall to them or that they can engineer a deal to bypass the system entirely. The second option has been increasingly common in recent years, with Re-entry Draft day trades and signings happening regularly.
While not the first thing that comes to mind when looking at the Timbers' roster, the fact that the team waived Andrew Weber leaves the Timbers with hole to fill on the bench behind Adam Kwarasey. While Jake Gleeson, who just signed a new contract with the team, is clearly the No. 2, the Timbers will want to continue getting him major minutes with T2. As such, the Timbers will need another veteran keeper who can step in if called upon.
Players like Joe Bendik ($150,000), Tally Hall ($215,000), and Donovan Ricketts ($260,000) are on the pricy side of things to take in the first round, but Chris Konopka ($60,000) has the requisite low salary and well-traveled career to back up Kwarasey and Gleeson; his beard helps too.
This is a spot that the Timbers might look to make a move in the early going. A solid left-back is a rare commodity and with zero left-backs on the roster right now -- unless we count Liam Ridgewell and Rodney Wallace -- the Timbers have got to find someone. Thankfully there are several possibilities for the Timbers in the Re-entry Draft as the team looks to make the left flank impassable once again.
Kevin Alston ($240,000), Jalil Anibaba ($120,000), and Anthony Wallace ($60,000) are the names that stand out on this list. Anibaba and Wallace are both players who have bounced around the league recently but have undeniable talent, while Alston has been a mainstay of the generally strong Revolution defense for the last several years. All three are in their prime and could certainly be contributors for the Timbers.
This spot is a tricky one to find talent from in the draft. While there are several proven goalscorers in the draft this year, none seem like a particularly good fit for the Timbers. Bright Dike, of course, would get plenty of cheers should he return to the Rose City, but two and a half long, injury filled years have kept him from being a contributor for Toronto FC and his ability to stay fit seems to be in question.
A speedster like Robbie Findley could add a different dimension to the Timbers' attack, but his moderate goalscoring record since returning from England, nine goals in 66 games, may give the team pause.
The rest of the players available either tend toward the young-ish and unproven, like Chandler Hoffman or Charlie Rugg, or toward the proven but on the decline, like Vincente Sanchez and Gabriel Torres.
The full list of Re-entry Draft eligible players, from MLSsoccer.com:
GK Joe Bendik (Toronto FC)
GK Josh Ford (Orlando City SC)
GK Tally Hall (Orlando City SC)
GK Alec Kann (Chicago Fire)
GK Chris Konopka (Toronto FC)
GK Matt Lampson (Columbus Crew SC)
GK Zac MacMath (Philadelphia Union)GK Brian Perk (LA Galaxy)
GK Donovan Ricketts (LA Galaxy)
GK Paolo Tornaghi (Vancouver Whitecaps)
DF Kevin Alston (New England Revolution)
DF Jalil Anibaba (Sporting Kansas City)
DF Steven Beitashour (Vancouver Whitecaps)DF Jeb Brovsky (New York City FC)
DF Hassoun Camara (Montreal Impact)
DF/MF Greg Cochrane (Chicago Fire)
DF Leonardo Gonzalez (Seattle Sounders)
DF Tony Lochhead
DF Tommy Meyer (LA Galaxy)
DF Roy Miller (New York Red Bulls)
DF Pa Modou Kah (Vancouver Whitecaps)
DF Lovel Palmer (Chicago Fire)
DF Chris Schuler (Real Salt Lake)
DF Zach Scott (Seattle Sounders)
DF Bakary Soumare (FC Dallas)
DF Jordan Stewart (San Jose Earthquakes)
DF Jermaine Taylor (Houston Dynamo)
DF Anthony Wallace (New York Red Bulls)
DF Kwame Watson-Siriboe (New York City FC)
MF Carlos Alvarez (Colorado Rapids)
MF/FW Tony Cascio (Orlando City SC)
MF Warren Creavalle (Philadelphia Union)
MF Danny Cruz (Philadelphia Union)
MF Andy Dorman (New England Revolution)
MF Michael Farfan (D.C United)
MF Fred (Philadelphia Union)
MF Boniek Garcia (Houston Dynamo)
MF Jeremy Hall (New England Revolution)
MF Jackson (Toronto FC)
MF Alex Lopez (Houston Dynamo)
MF Michel (FC Dallas)
MF Michael Nanchoff (Portland Timbers)
MF Lewis Neal (Orlando City SC)
MF Marco Pappa (Seattle Sounders)
MF Mauro Rosales (Vancouver Whitecaps)
MF Matt Watson (Chicago Fire)
FW Jairo Arrieta (D.C. United)
FW Bright Dike
FW Robbie Findley (Toronto FC)
FW Mike Fucito (San Jose Earthquakes)
FW Chandler Hoffman (Houston Dynamo)
FW Antoine Hoppenot (Philadelphia Union)
FW Jason Johnson (Chicago Fire)
FW Danny Mwanga (Orlando City SC)
FW Dane Richards (New York Red Bulls)
FW Charlie Rugg (LA Galaxy)
FW Vicente Sanchez (Colorado Rapids)
FW Gabriel Torres (Colorado Rapids)
FW Maximiliano Urruti (Portland Timbers)