The first round of the MLS Re-Entry Draft came and went today with merely a whisper. Ben Olsen and D.C. United adopted the conservative approach that we would have expected and elected to pass this time around, as did 17 other MLS clubs. Only one team decided to select a player, and that player happened to be from our very own home team.
Maicon Santos will be heading to the Chicago Fire, and with him he will be taking his rocket left foot, his inconsistent scoring nature, his strong aerial presence, his tendency to shoot first and think later, his physical aggressiveness, his ability to fall out of favor with just about every team in the league, and of course his alter ego Mike Sanders.
Santos contributed seven goals and three assists in 26 matches (16 starts) this season for United. And while this was the best statistical season of his MLS career, Santos was on track for so much more. He was in competition for the Golden Boot back in the early months of the season, but Santos hasn’t scored a single goal since the month of May, and rightfully fell down United’s forward depth chart. Still, Santos was responsible for one of the best attacking performances by a United player all year, laying two goals on FC Dallas back in April in the match that gave us fans a brief glimpse at the potential of our team. That’s how we’ll remember Santos, and that’s what earned him the middle initial of “F”.
Had Santos been able to keep that April-May form over the course of the entire season, United never would have traded for Lionard Pajoy and probably wouldn’t be in the market for a new designated player to lead the line up top in 2013. But that isn’t who Santos is. Inconsistency has plagued his entire MLS career, and will probably continue to plague him in Chicago as he joins his fifth team in four seasons.
Despite some talented names appearing on the list of available players, United’s decision to pass on this round of the draft should not come as a surprise. The team has few holes heading into next season, and doesn’t intend to fill those holes with MLS castoffs, particularly not at the high salaries that tend to accompany those players who are eligible for the Re-Entry Process. With another round set to take place next Friday with the ability to reduce players’ salaries, we may see a more active United going forward.