Wrapping up a wild MLS Expansion Draft Day

Logo Timbers-new-newjpg-eb4a00a6b9166cf4_small

By JOSE M. ROMERO

A day that began with 10 expansion draft picks for the expansion Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps ended with seven of those 20 players traded to already established MLS clubs, Portland's promise of international signings and a conference call saboteur.

Call it MLS Madness.

The top two picks in the draft, attacking midfielder Dax McCarty from FC Dallas to Portland and winger Sanna Nyassi from the Seattle Sounders to Vancouver, were with their respective clubs for not even a full day. By late afternoon out West, McCarty was shipped to DC United for defender-midfielder Rodney Wallace and the lower of DCU's two fourth-round Superdraft picks in January 2011. And Nyassi, a tough loss for the Sounders because of how he'd come on late this past season, was dealt to MLS Cup champion Colorado for an international player slot.

Vancouver mirrored a Timbers move from Monday in which the Timbers acquired an international slot in exchange for allocation money, which both expansion sides are entitled to from the league in order to bolster their respective rosters. 

The Timbers will presumably use the international slot to sign a foreign central midfielder, and are looking to bring in two strikers from overseas. 

"We think we've found the perfect person. We're trying to acquire that individual now, and there's no need to hold on to Dax when we've already identified another player at that position," Timbers technical director Gavin Wilkinson said.  

After trading two more of their expansion picks, Anthony Wallace back to Colorado for allocation money and former San Jose midfielder Arturo Alvarez to Real Salt Lake for a second-round Superdraft pick, the Timbers were left with only one attacking player they selected, former RSL forward Robbie Findley. They used Wednesday's draft to load up on defenders and defensive midfielders, including Eric Brunner and Adam Moffat from Columbus, David Horst from RSL, the rights to Jonathan Bornstein from Chivas USA and Jordan Graye from DC United. 

The Timbers picked Bornstein, a U.S. national team player, on the premise that his deal with a Mexican club for this season might not work out, in which case Portland retains the defender's MLS rights. Findley, another USMNT veteran from the World Cup, is another question mark since he's considering going to Europe.

"I think it's a gamble worth taking, because we're talking about two young American national team players," coach John Spencer said.

"We needed one or two players out of the back," Wilkinson said. "Moffat is a box-to-box midfielder."

The Timbers already had established a base of scorers, three of their first four player signings being USSF Division II leading scorer Ryan Pore, runner-up Eddie Johnson and striker Bright Dike.

The Whitecaps sent four attacking players they chose on Wednesday to other teams. After Nyassi, they traded O'Brian White (Toronto FC) to Seattle and Alejandro Moreno (Philadelphia) and Alan Gordon (Chivas USA) to Chivas USA. Vancouver received allocation money for all but the Nyassi deal.

The Whitecaps ended the day with forward-midfielder Atiba Harris (FC Dallas), midfielders Nate Sturgis (Seattle), Shea Salinas (Philadelphia) and John Thorrington (Chicago), defender Jonathan Leathers (Sporting KC) and goalkeeper Joe Cannon (San Jose).

They join signed defender Jay DeMerit. 

"Obviously we were looking for technically talented players but in addition to that, what we were also looking for were players that demonstrated character, players that you can count on in adverse situations, and we were also looking for leadership as well," team president Bob Lenarduzzi said.

That was before a guy who claimed to be from "KHTK in Sacramento" asked a lewd question about a fictitious player named Don Geronimo. The caller interrupted the proceedings, demanding that his question be answered, and Whitecaps media relations staff halted the conference call.

The same character tried again in the Portland teleconference, but was disconnected immediately and the interviews with Wilkinson and Spencer continued.

This entry was posted in Major League Soccer, MLS Draft 2011, MLS- Expansion, MLS- Portland Timbers, MLS- Vancouver Whitecaps. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Wrapping up a wild MLS Expansion Draft Day

  1. Coby says:

    RSL looks like they did more than alright on the day. Glad to have Alvaro in Utah.

  2. Coby says:

    Ha, I meant Alvarez. They already have Alvaro Saborio

  3. ATMNEUX says:

    Just noticed that MLSsoccer.com changed the logos of the eastern and western conference on the final score of MLS Cup around on the home page so that the western conference logo is behind Colorado… that way they can hide the fact that a western conference team won the eastern conference??? Embarrassed anyone?

  4. Jason says:

    Uh, unless they changed it back, you’re seeing things, ATMNEUX.

  5. jon says:

    well that was one wild expansion draft day if i’ve ever seen one

  6. Terry says:

    It looks like both teams are coming into the league with an eye on international talent. Good thing. If they have an attitude of growth and not just getting by, then they will join the teams pushing for expanded spending. I am for the Sounders, but would love to see Portland and Vancouver follow suit.

  7. ATMNEUX says:

    Just looked again…it still has the western logo behind Colorado! Am I insane?

  8. patrick says:

    youre insance, i see colorado as the eastern rep and dallas as the western rep

  9. ATMNEUX says:

    That is so weird… I really am not very vocal on the whole Colorado winning the east thing but, man it still looks that way on my computer! Oh well… More importantly, I am excited to see Dax with DC next season!

  10. Neruda says:

    A busy day of expansion picking and trading but the real exciting day will be the superdraft. There’s a youth movement in US soccer and everyone is excited to see the newcomers add to the talent level.

    Glad to see Findley on another team and make way for some up and coming players on RSL.

  11. FUsoccer says:

    Great to see two Furman alum (both class of 08) reunited in Vancouver. Leathers and Salinas could combine to form a very speedy right side.

  12. Kaiser says:

    Don Geronimo from the Don and Mike radio show!?!? Those two haven’t been funny for years…guess they are really trying hard to get some laughs these days.

  13. Wally says:

    mine has West behind Colorado too!

  14. Big Chil says:

    MLS Champs Colorado may have had the best day. Kept their starting XI and added 2 midfielders, Sanna Nyassi and Vargenas to the competitive mix.

    Another way to look at it is, Colorado got 2 of the first 3 players selected in the expansion draft.

    (Nyassi, and reclaiming their own Anthony Wallace).

    Julian Baudet will be missed. May you claim a starting job in Seattle.

    Keep staying sharp management. We look forward to next season. I predict a top 4 finish.

  15. Great report Jose – you answered all my questions as yesterday was unfolding.

  16. FUalum says:

    These guys were fun to watch while playing together at FU. Hopefully they bring that same excitement to Vancouver.

  17. Charles says:

    If I didn’t have SBI, it would feel like 1981 all over again.

    While bummed more mainstream media doesn’t cover the great league we have here,

    VERY THANKFUL that SBI does it better than they would anyway.

    THANKS IVES, BLOGGERS ( esp Jose ) and POSTERS

  18. Fred Garvin says:

    Sturgis to TFC

  19. Dominghosa says:

    That Don Geronimo-asking guy is making the rounds.
    He did the same thing at a UFC press call I was on earlier this month.
    Not sure how he keeps getting these media call conference numbers.