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Gems in MLS supplemental draft? History suggests few

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First rule of MLS drafts: every club official loves their picks! Just ask them.

Generally speaking, they were shocked (shocked!) that these talented guys right at the tippy top of their lists were still available.  I mean, how lucky is that?

So the first rule for journalists, broadcasters and content providers who cover the MLS draft and its quieter, more reclusive cousin, the Supplemental Draft: pay attention to the first rule and don’t even bother to ask club officials about their picks. Because I guarantee, they love them!

Major League Soccer held its supplemental draft today. But rather than going through the traditional, silly exercise of seeking comment and then disguising guesswork as actual critical analysis, let’s just say this:

There were probably three to five men selected who will become significant pieces and valued assets around MLS. One of them could find his way at some point into Jurgen Klinsmann’s national team.

The rest? A few will find supporting roles on MLS rosters, a few will be funneled to lower tier organizations and more still will tumble out of professional soccer and move on with their lives. (It’s not so bad out here, guys.)

Evidence? Today’s supplemental draft lasted three rounds; It was effectively rounds 3, 4 and 5 of last week’s MLS draft. Let’s look at a couple of past drafts, at the selections taken after two rounds.

We will throw out the 2011 and 2012 drafts, since some of the selections aren’t yet 20 years old, and because it’s generally too early for a final assessment of those drafts. Here’s a quick snapshot of the previous two before those (past rounds 1 and 2, remember):

In 2009: Darrius Barnes and Danny Cruz (pictured) have been established starters at some point, and both figure to be around for a while. We could still hear something from Quincy Amarikwa, Mike Fucito, Marcus Tracy or Brandon Barklage. That’s about it.

In 2010: Sean Johnson, taken 51st overall, is the class of the lower-round draft class, a two-year starter at Chicago and a little apple in Klinsmann’s USMNT eye.

Chris Schuler (39th), Eric Alexander (44th) and Ben Zemanski (47th) have earned value as part-time starters. A couple of others are still developing, and … uh … yeah, that’s about it.

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
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Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.

Statement from suspended UEFA president Michel Platini

Michel Platini, UEFA & FIFA
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Statement from suspended UEFA President Michel Platini:

Early this afternoon, I was informed of the FIFA ethics committee’s decision to impose on me a provisional 90-day suspension with immediate effect. That decision, which I will of course contest in the appropriate manner at the appropriate time, had already been the subject of a deliberate leak, and I gave my opinion on that earlier in the day.

I reject all of the allegations that have been made against me, which are based on mere semblances and are astonishingly vague. Indeed, the wording of those allegations merely states that a breach of the FIFA Code of Ethics “seems to have been committed” and that a decision on the substance of the matter cannot be taken immediately.

Despite the farcical nature of these events, I refuse to believe that this is a political decision taken in haste in order to taint a lifelong devotee of the game or crush my candidacy for the FIFA presidency.

I want everyone to know my state of mind: more than a sense of injustice or a desire for revenge, I am driven by a profound feeling of staunch defiance. I am more determined than ever to defend myself before the relevant judicial bodies.

I want to reiterate in the strongest possible terms that I will devote myself to ensuring that my good faith prevails. I have received numerous messages of support today from UEFA’s member associations and the other confederations encouraging me to continue my work serving football’s interests. Nothing will make me give up on that commitment.