On Wednesday Dec. 8, MLS teams will participate in the first ever Re-Entry, which is the second of 27 drafts that are taking place this offseason. D.C. United has the first overall pick, thanks to the team's last place finish in 2010.
The list of available players was revealed yesterday, and it contains some big names, along with their correspondingly big contracts. In Jaime Moreno and Jeff Cunningham, the two highest scoring players in MLS history are available. And in Juan Pablo Angel and Guillermo Barros Schelotto, two of the most influential players of MLS 2.0 are also available.
There's plenty of experience, and plenty of starpower. But is that really something that United is looking for this offseason? By design, there isn't much youth in the RED. Players need at least three years of MLS experience before they can be RED eligible. Jason Garey, the former Hermann Trophy winning forward from Maryland, was probably going to be the only proven young player available, but he was snatched up yesterday by the Houston Dynamo in a trade prior to entering the draft.
After the break, we'll go over a few names that United might like to target with its first overall pick on Wednesday.
Jimmy Conrad - A veteran center back has been leading Kansas City's defense for eight years. And he's only 33-years old. Conrad was the MLS Defender of the Year in 2005, and was a member of MLS's Best XI as recently as 2008. Out of the experienced center backs available, Conrad might be the top choice.
Cory Gibbs - Gibbs is one of those guys who seemingly has been around forever, but really he's only 30. He's played in Germany, in England, and now is on his second stint in MLS. Gibbs started 25 games for the New England Revolution, who led the league in goals allowed in 2010.
Gino Padula - He's won an MLS Cup. He's played in the EPL. He started his career with River Plate, a club United is fairly familiar with. But he's 34, and had lost his starting job with the Columbus Crew late in the season. That club appears set on doing some rebuilding. We should probably think about doing the same, and a 34-year old left back is probably not the place to start.
Jovan Kirovski - A hard working forward who has had some goal-scoring success in the past, Kirovski might find himself ahead of Adam Cristman on our current depth chart. United needs some help at forward. Hell, they need LOTS of help at forward. But again, Kirovski is 34 and United is probably looking for a bit more youth.
Angel or Cunningham - D.C. needs some goals, and each of these veterans could definitely deliver them. Angel has scored more goals than any other MLS player since 2007, and United knows it. He's still a force. But goddamn has he got a big contract. Acquiring Cunningham would be a huge slap in the face to Moreno, and is therefore not recommended.
Fred - For those of you that think that United made a huge mistake giving up Fred in the Troy Perkins trade last offseason, does it make you feel any different now that Philadelphia won't be retaining him? The brothers Carreiro could be re-united in D.C., but probably won't.
Or will United pass on their pick? According to Charles Boehm's interview with Ben Olsen, that seems unlikely.
"The good thing with this league is, when you have a season like ours, it gives you a little boost," head coach Ben Olsen said. "We’ve been punished plenty of times [for past success], so now we get to sit at the top of some of these things and make some decisions. I think throughout the league, there’s some guys that can help us for sure."