Later today, Major League Soccer will hold the 2015 Waiver Draft. The 25 eligible players had their options declined by their previous clubs but remain under contract with the single-entity league. Not qualifying for free agency or the re-entry draft, players drafted from the waiver draft most be issued a genuine offer.
Like other drafts, the order is determined by reserve order of the previous season’s final standings, taking into account playoff performance. With that in mind, RSL will have the option of drafting a players in the fifth spot. For more information on the waiver draft and its order, click here.
For Icelanders to Argentines, the waiver draft is full of a wide variety of players all with their own unique talents. Still, one is left to wonder how they would fit into Real Salt Lake’s system.
Take, for instance, Sebastian Velasquez; while the ex-RSLer has again shown flashes of brilliance and a commanding presence on the pitch early in the season for New York City FC, his personality never really fit the ‘Team is the Star’ mantra of the Claret-and-Cobalt. And with his recent legal issues, it is hard to believe that he could excel back at Rio Tinto. And, it may just be me, but the penalty that could have sealed RSL’s second MLS Cup was missed, in horrible fashion in fact, by one Sebastian Velasquez.
Other European league veterans such as Kristinn Steindorsson and Mika Vayrynen were relegated to the bench late in the year after slips in performance. Furthermore, RSL doesn’t really need another winger or defensive midfielder.
A center-back, however, is something RSL desperately needs and where better to acquire a veteran with MLS experience than the waiver draft?
So, who fits this billet? Well . . . only one player really in Emanuel Pogatetz. In his second season with the Columbus Crew (first full season with the club), Pogatetz has, at times, made his presence known for the Crew in a total of 19 appearances but at times was made to look like a school boy. Still, playing with the MLS Cup runner-ups is definitely something.
His age, however, is something that is problematic. At 32, he is injury prone and likely to miss swaths of matches. And with the return of Jamison Olave . . . um, RSL already has one of those types of players. Therefore, I doubt Pogatetz will make RSL’s wish list this Holiday Season.
Now, there are freshman candidates too that are available. The likes of Leo Stolz and Otis Earle are names we heard at last year’s Super Draft but not much throughout the season. This young player still have potential but as arguments have suggested before, I do not know if these College players are quite ready for the professional ranks of MLS yet. Instead, maybe the Monarchs could give them a once over, because the Hermann Trophy winning Stolz is definitely one of the most professional ready players to come out of college.
With that said, it seems very unlikely that RSL will pick up anyone in today’s waiver draft. It doesn’t necessary mean that there are no good players available, but none that really address the needs of the Claret-and-Cobalt immediately. While there may be gems for the Real Monarchs if they are able to snatch the leftovers up, RSL will bide its time and stockpile its money for now as the fans wait for those big off-season signings that are bound to happen.