The Mane Land, along with all of the other SB Nation MLS sites, took part in a mock Dispersal Draft this week, to see how tomorrow’s MLS Dispersal Draft for Chivas USA players might look. It was a fun exercise and an interesting look at what teams might be looking for tomorrow during the league’s conference call to find new homes for those wayward Chivas players.
To simulate the draft, we selected in the order the teams drew last week, with Orlando City holding the seventh pick. The draft order was chosen by drawing with 2014 MLS teams getting one envelope each in the hopper and non-playoff teams and expansion clubs getting two envelopes each. Despite the extra envelopes, four of the first five teams drawn were 2014 playoff games, led by FC Dallas with the first overall pick.
The only non-playoff team drawn in the first five was New York City FC, with the second pick.
This turned out to be a fortuitous spot for NYCFC. With Dallas not needing a goalkeeper, their blog Big D Soccer chose the versatile Marky Delgado with the top pick. This allowed NYCFC to nab coveted goalkeeper Dan Kennedy. With Josh Saunders already in the fold, the newcomers in New York are set up nicely in goal.
Next up in our mock draft, Sporting KC took defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste, DC United selected midfielder Thomas MacNamara, and New England Revolution nabbed defender Donny Toia. The first existing 2014 non-playoff team to make a selection was the Montreal Impact, which had the worst record in MLS this season. Their blog, Mount Royal Soccer, chose defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado. That set the stage for Orlando City’s pick at No. 7.
Before the draft, I had Andrew rank the players he thought Adrian Heath might be interested in from the Chivas USA roster. I then went through and considered each player and what the Lions’ needs might be, and gave some thought to what salaries might be prohibitive or attractive. There were a number of our top choices available when Orlando City’s turn came up in the draft.
There were several attractive options. In the end, it’s all just a guess, really, but I selected defender Bobby Burling. The Lions have some very young players on the back line. Burling would be able to provide MLS experience that the team currently lacks and help the youngsters grow into MLS players. Burling isn’t the fastest or most gifted defender in the league, but he’d be the kind of player that could contribute immediately and help others who will pay dividends later.
Another player I considered was midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker, an experienced Englishman that might appeal to Heath. He would bring a lot of experience, but his contract might be a bit prohibitive when compared with his relative quality, although the gaffer might get more out of him than what he’d shown in his previous MLS stops.
I also gave consideration to defensive midfielder Agustin Pelletieri. An Argentinian national, he’s a steady player with some leadership qualities and Orlando City does love its international players. But in the end I thought Burling provided leadership at such a key position that it would be wise to select him.
The 30-year-old Texas native played collegiately at Loyola Marymount University and was drafted in the fourth round in 2007 by the LA Galaxy. The Galaxy did not offer Burling a contract and he signed with Chivas USA. He has also played with the San Jose Earthquakes. The 6-foot-5 veteran defender has 119 career MLS appearances, with 105 starts. He doesn’t provide much offense, with just two career goals and two assists, but he’d be needed for preventing goals, not making them.
All of this means nothing, of course. Heath and the Lions may decide to take another promising young player. They might indeed absorb Reo-Coker’s contract. Or everything ahead of them might fall completely differently and force them into an entirely unforeseen move. Or they might pass.
We’ll find out tomorrow.
The draft was actually fun and it was great participating with our future sister sites over at SB Nation (the anticipated move-in date is Dec. 1, but internet things can sometimes be fickle). We look forward to more of these kinds of events, and a mock Expansion Draft is likely in the near future. Stay tuned.