Though one is the lowest number of players ever taken in stage one of an MLS Re-Entry Draft, it wasn’t surprising that only Maicon Santos was selected on Friday, the Chicago Fire picking up the now former D.C. United forward. In the two previous iterations of the draft, only five players had been selected, and with teams having another crack at the players next Friday (stage two), there wasn’t much urgency to make a selection which would spring a contract option (or mandate an offer, in the case of out of contract players).
We spent a lot of time this morning talking about rules, players of intrigue, and a minor conspiracy, but it all ended up being so much talk for so little action. After the results were announced, the bottom line rang through. Except Santos, there was nobody in this draft so compelling that teams wanted to pass on a chance to get them cheaper next week. Between the lack of quality, teams lacking flexibility under the cap, and next week’s stage two, there just wasn’t enough demand to generate picks.
Santos is set for his fifth team in as many seasons. Chivas USA, Toronto FC, FC Dallas and DC United have all seen and let go of the Brazilian. Last season at RFK, Santos had seven goals in 26 games but only saw playoff time when Ben Olsen’s squad started being hit by injuries. Well travelled at 28, Santos is neither unknown nor likely to improve.
It’s a curious pick, particularly for stage one. Given the number of teams that passed on him today (10) and in the past, Chicago could have taken the chance Santos would survive the draft’s last eight picks and be available next week. Obviously, the Fire saw that as a worthless gamble and took the striker, adding him to a team that already counts Sherjill MacDonald, Dominic Oduro, Chris Rolfe, Alvaro Fernandez and Patrick Nyarko among is attacking options.
Ultimately, Chicago saw something the other 18 teams did not: A player they liked. Where players like Ike Opara couldn’t get a look, Maicon Santos did.
Expect more action next week.