Let's be blunt: This year's Re-Entry Draft is not nearly as important for D.C. United as it was at this time last year, where it was the beginning of the Black-and-Red's roster rebuild. It's not just that Ben Olsen's current roster is far stronger than the one he had last December; it's that this RED lacks the potential all-stars that last year's did. There's no Fabian Espindola, Sean Franklin, or Bobby Boswell in this pool of players (much less all three in place for us to snap up).
That shouldn't imply that there are not useful players to add depth to a roster that has lost several players recently. Sure, Andrew Driver has arrived, but United has lost Samuel Inkoom, Joe Willis, Lewis Neal, and Thomas McNamara this week. All four of those players were going to enter preseason looking to ensure a regular role in the matchday squad, and we're not going to see them replaced in the Superdraft.
That said, it's important to remember a basic RED rule: Players taken today in Stage 1 must have their 2015 contract accepted as written. If a guy made $250,000 and is due a raise, you have to give him that raise if you pick him in Stage 1. Similarly, if someone has a low contract for 2014 but had a huge salary boost built into their deal - an issue that was rumored to be why Espindola was made available last year - the selecting team must accept that jump.
Still, there are a handful of players worth modest consideration today:
Position: Right wing, left wing, withdrawn forward
2014 salary: $48,825 (base and guaranteed)
For those of us that are still in mourning about the loss of McNamara to those dastardly villains at NYCFC, adding another versatile, creative player who operates between the lines would be of some comfort. There's no use pretending that the soon-to-be 29 year old will be equivalent to McNamara - in terms of ability, in terms of swagger, in terms of potential, and of course in terms of mullets - but he's not a bad player and is capable of playing several roles for United.
Hill's best skill is his ability to beat people on the dribble and his touch in close quarters. Generally, he's most effective when he can draw defenders in, beat one, and then pass the ball off to a teammate in more space. He's more of a narrow winger than an old-school wide man. Hill wants to come inside and combine with his teammates rather than hook in crosses.
It must be said that he's not known for showing any particular zeal for defending. That's not to say Hill is lazy or soft, but I have my doubts about whether Olsen would ever start him as a wide midfielder. However, that's not to say he wouldn't have some worth coming off the bench or playing as a second forward in Open Cup and CCL games.
Position: Defensive midfield
2014 salary: $48,825 (base and guaranteed)
Garcia turns 26 next week, and played more games this season with LA Galaxy II than he has for the real Galaxy in three full seasons. However, one has to cut players some slack for not being able to displace Juninho or Marcelo Sarvas. Garcia is an energetic central midfielder that Bruce Arena could have easily jettisoned, but has kept around. Obviously he must see something in the Cal St. Northridge product, right?
One thing worth noting about Garcia is that he's a better fit positionally for a flat 442 than Jared Jeffrey, who would be far better off playing a deep-lying role that Olsen usually doesn't make available. Garcia plays the defensive midfield role more like Davy Arnaud: He covers a ton of ground and relentlessly offers himself up as an outlet for others. He's not exactly young enough to benefit hugely from a mentor, but he'd still improve by learning whatever he can from Arnaud (and for that matter, Olsen).
If United were obliged to take a player today, I'd probably hope it was Garcia. That's not to say he's a special talent, or that we can't draft a central midfielder, but he could play some useful minutes for United. It's worth noting that he managed four goals for "Los Dos" in USL-PRO this season over the course of twenty-three appearances. That's not a bad return, even if we can be fairly certain he wouldn't be making so many runs into the area in MLS play.
2014 salary: $60,000 (base)/$63,125 (guaranteed)
Speaking of Galaxy 25 year olds, Perk could fill a role here with United. The trade of #AngryJoeWillis to Houston has left United with just Bill Hamid and Andrew Dykstra on the roster in terms of GKs. On one hand, Perk has just fourteen total league appearances since being drafted back in 2010. That's not a good sign, though he has made a few Open Cup starts over the years as well.
Still, Perk started for the 2009 US under-20 World Cup team, and though he fell from LA's back-up GK to their third option there were no reports of him throwing the job away. In limited action, he's looked quick, agile, and decisive coming off his line. He does have weaknesses (namely, his 5'10" frame makes claiming crosses a bit difficult), but we're talking about grabbing a solid 3rd string GK. We won't be acquiring Thibaut Courtois for that role. Perk is solidly above average for that role in MLS.