If there's an MLS expansion draft on a Wednesday, somebody must be working late in Northern California on Tuesday night. The offices of Match Analysis in Emeryville
is where Seattle Sounders FC president Adrian Hanauer
and technical director Chris Henderson
spent the entire day and much of the night in preparation for the MLS expansion draft to be
conducted Wednesday starting at 1 p.m. ET. Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney looks at likely Seattle picks. ...
'We plan on being here for a while," said Henderson on his cell phone Tuesday
Hanauer and Henderson are handling the selection duties in lieu of a head coach. Seattle has pored over the qualifications of more than a dozen candidates and interviewed a
Technically it is prohibited from speaking directly with Crew coach Sigi Schmid
, whose contract doesn't expire until Sunday. Since the Crew's operator-investor, Hunt Sports
Group, has refused to speak with anyone other than Schmid in contract discussions, one wonders how Seattle can make any real headway until Schmid's current deal expires Sunday.
HSG resumed negotiations Monday, a day after Columbus won its first MLS Cup by beating New York, 3-1. In any case, the expansion draft won't wait, and to beef up their knowledge of what's available on
the teams' non-protected lists, Hanauer and Henderson are following the same procedure as last year's expansion team, San Jose.
Quakes coach Frank Yallop
and general manager John
pored over Match Analysis data long into the night last year and one of the revelations they spotted in the MA data was how seldom midfieldere Ivan Guerrero
, then with Chicago, lost
possession. They used one of their picks on Guerrero and though they later traded him to D.C. United when Darren Huckerby
became available, Guerrero stepped in to shore up the left side of
D.C.'s midfield. All of the MLS teams except Toronto FC use Match Analysis, as do many of the nation's top college programs.
In 2007, TFC eventually traded every one of the 10 players it
took in the expansion draft. That hasn't worked out so well.
Already signed by Seattle are Swedish midfielder Freddie Ljungberg
, U.S. goalkeeper Kasey Keller
Sebastien Le Toux
, and midfielder Sanna Nyassi
, brother of Revs' second-year player Sainey Nyassi
. The club is discussing deals with several members of the USL-1 Sounders team,
and is expected to sign at least a half-dozen of them to MLS contracts.
By position, here's a rundown on what the NP lists have to offer. Seattle has only 10 picks and no team can lose more
than one player in the draft. It has already used its DP slot on Ljungberg but could certainly trade for another one, especially since it also holds the No. 1 pick in the 2009 SuperDraft. The
FieldTurf surface at Qwest Field is a variable. Goalkeeper
- Keller has the No. 1 jersey and so Seattle could wait for the SuperDraft to get a college keeper or trade for a protected
one. It could grab a solid keeper like Tony Caig
(Houston) or Dan Kennedy
(Chivas USA) and pick a college keeper for the No. 3. Or how about taking Louis Crayton
and trading him back? Defenders -
There are some good options for the back line. Outside back Brandon Prideaux
(Chicago) is from Seattle and central defender Tyson
(Kansas City) showed signs of getting to grips with MLS in the second half of the season. Chris Tierney
(New England) is a very promising left back and Wade Barrett
is among the league's best at that position. Jose Burciaga
(Colorado) is looking to move on. Midfielders -
Unless H&H have their eyes on an international player, passing up
(Colorado) to run the right side would seem to be irresistible. Few players in the league can get a cross in like Cooke. If Ljungberg, as planned, mans the middle, he and Cooke
would be a good pairing. He could also be traded back.
An experienced stud like Chris Klein
(Los Angeles) would add some savvy. Crew central mids Brad Evans
aren't bad choices, and neither is the versatile and dependable Richard Mulrooney
. A wild stab on Marcelo Gallardo
(D.C. United) would certainly liven up the proceedings.
Supposedly Nate Jaqua
is bound for Seattle from Houston but that might involve a trade (perhaps for allocation money, of which Seattle is flush with about $1.2
million to start with) rather than a straightforward expansion selection. There aren't a lot of front players available, though Wells Thompson
(New England) wouldn't be the worst pick in the
world. Kenny Deuchar (Real Salt Lake) or Tom McManus
(Colorado) could add some prowess in the air.
AVAILABLE PLAYERS FOR MLS EXPANSION DRAFT
(Seattle Sounders FC)
Pappa, Marco Pablo
Hayden, John Michael
Kansas City Wizards
Los Angeles Galaxy
New England Revolution
Zapata, Argenis Fernandez
New York Red Bulls
Real Salt Lake
San Jose Earthquakes
Ayres, Jay Michael