Wednesday’s Stage 2 MLS re-entry draft could throw up some surprises

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One of the quirky things we love about Major League Soccer is the often complex and incredibly unique player movement process which takes place every offseason.

This year is no different.

After Stage 1 of the re-entry process ended last week, five players were taken on their current contracts.This week sees 48 more MLSers put up for auction, if you will, and able to negotiate new contracts for 2014 and beyond with any potential new teams.

And this year there’s some big names up for grabs but more than likely the phone conference which decides which club takes who will consist of a lot of MLS staffs and GMs getting very accustomed to mumbling the word “pass” as the picks go by.

Three former MLS MVPs can be picked up in Wednesday’s draft with Dwayne De Rosario, David Ferreira and Carlos Ruiz up for grabs, whilst several other gems are littered amongst the field of players who didn’t have their options taken by their current MLS side.

But just to clear up exactly how this works, the re-entry order of picks is right here. Plus here are the requirements each players has to meet in order to be eligible to participate in the re-entry process:

  • Players who are at least 23 years old and have a minimum of three years experience in MLS whose options were not exercised by their clubs (available at option salary for 2014)
  • Players who are at least 25 years old with a minimum of four years of MLS experience who are out of contract and whose club does not wish to re-sign them at their previous salary (available for at least their 2013 salary)
  • Players who are at least 30 years old with a minimum of eight years of MLS experience who are out of contract and whose club does not wish to re-sign them (available for at least 105% of their 2013 salary)

Now that’s been cleared up… here’s the list of 48 players available, including three players who have retired but are still in the process because they may wake up one morning, and change their mind. Pablo Mastroeni, Kevin Hartman and Chris Albright, it’s not too late fellas!

So, here’s 48 guys who could get picked up today. Who would you like to see at your club?

Players available for Stage 2 of re-entry draft

Chicago Fire (5): D Shaun Francis, M Joel Lindpere, F Maicon Santos, M Wells Thompson*, M Michael Videira

Chivas USA (3): D Ante Jazic*, D Steve Purdy, M Josue Soto

Columbus Crew (2): M Danny O’Rourke, M Konrad Warzycha

Colorado Rapids (3): GK Steward Ceus, D Brian Mullan, M Jamie Smith

D.C. United (5): M Dwayne De Rosario, D James Riley, F Carlos Ruiz, M Marcelo Saragosa, D Daniel Woolard

FC Dallas (2): M David Ferreira, D Ugo Ihemelu

Houston Dynamo (3): F Calen Carr*, M Alex Dixon, F Cam Weaver

LA Galaxy (3): M Colin Clark, M Laurent Courtois,  M Pablo Mastroeni* (retired)

Montreal Impact (1): M Sinisa Ubiparipovic

New England Revolution (4): F Chad Barrett, F Ryan Guy, M Clyde Simms, M Juan Toja

New York Red Bulls (4): D Brandon Barklage, F Fabian Espindola, GK Kevin Hartman (retired), D Heath Pearce*

Philadelphia Union (1): D Chris Albright* (retired)

Portland Timbers (2): D Ryan Miller

Real Salt Lake (3): D Brandon McDonald, GK Josh Saunders, M Khari Stephenson

Seattle Sounders (1): M Blair Gavin,

San Jose Earthquakes (4): D Nana Attakora, M Mehdi Ballouchy*, D Dan Gargan, GK Evan Newton

Toronto FC (1): F Justin Braun*

Vancouver Whitecaps (2): GK Joe Cannon, F Corey Hertzog

* denotes players who are out of contract, other players had options declined.

Chicharito says Mexican team “always feels welcome” in the United States

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Mexico will take on Wales on Monday at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA as they warm up for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Playing in the United States is nothing new for the USMNT’s southern neighbors, and it doesn’t phase them. In fact, they love it.

Star striker Chicharito told reporters that he and the rest of the squad is more than happy playing north of the border, because according to him, apart from a pair of venues, they can’t even tell they’re on the road.

“We always feel welcome here,” Chicharito said. “It’s like our second country, if we can say that, apart from Columbus [Ohio] and apart from the stadium in Miami when we played Colombia…those two stadiums, that’s the only time I’ve felt that we were the away team.”

Chicharito knows that the high population of his countrymen and women in the United States helps the Mexican team feel close to home when they play over the border. He’s all for the melting pot of the US.

“We feel at home [in the United States],” Chicharito said. “We have plenty of Mexicans here, so I don’t know what else to tell you, we feel welcome, we feel glad, happy to be in touch with those people here. They are sacrificing a lot of things, and they are all enjoying their lives that they decide to live in the USA…it’s great. It’s great when you come to another country and you feel like you are home. You see all the stadium green, shouting and screaming your names, screaming your goals, so yeah, it’s great.”

Mexico will play Wales on Monday at 9:00 p.m. ET, and will return home to take on Scotland at Azteca on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. ET.

England international Delph expecting child in middle of World Cup

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England international Fabian Delph could face quite the dilemma if England advances past the group stage of the World Cup.

Delph’s wife Natalie is expecting the couple’s third child on June 30, which is two days after their pivotal group stage match against Belgium, and two days before the squad would take the field July 1 for its Round of 16 game should they win Group G. If they finish second in the group, they would play their Round of 16 game on July 3.

When asked what his plans are, Delph joked that his wife would manage on her own. “She’s tough, she’s a Yorkshire lass so she’ll deal with it,” Delph said with a smile.

He then coughed up the truth: they’re not quite sure what the plan is.

“We’re not 100% certain, with a game on the 28th there might be an opportunity to fly back and then get back fast,” he said. “[England manager] Gareth [Southgate] has been fantastic. There’s nothing more important than family to me – family always comes first and always will.”

There’s another dilemma that Southgate must navigate involving Delph. The 28-year-old is a natural winger, but played wing-back in Pep Guardiola‘s title-winning system for much of the year and saw a massive uptick in form in the new role, playing in place of the injured Benjamin Mendy. Southgate must decide where he wants to deploy Delph – if at all – and if he wishes to fit his formation and tactics to mold Delph’s season under Guardiola.

Authorities drop assault charges against Hope Solo

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KIRKLAND, Wash. (AP) — Prosecutors in Washington state have dropped domestic violence charges against former U.S. national team star goalkeeper Hope Solo.

Solo was charged with two counts of fourth-degree assault in 2014 after police said she assaulted two family members at a home in Kirkland, east of Seattle. The case was delayed by appeals.

KING-TV reports that city prosecutors dropped the charges Wednesday, saying the witnesses in the case wanted to move on with their lives and did not want to participate in a trial. An attorney for Kirkland, Melissa Osman, wrote in court documents that the circumstances were unlikely to be repeated.

The longtime national team goalkeeper and two-time Olympic gold medalist recently ran unsuccessfully for president of the U.S. Soccer Federation. She has called for equal pay and equal treatment for the U.S. women’s team.

Mark Hughes signs new long-term contract at Southampton

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Mark Hughes has gone from Stoke City outcast to Southampton savior in little under six months time.

The Welsh boss was let go from Stoke City with the Potters 18th in the table and headed towards eventual relegation, but he was picked up by fellow relegation candidates Southampton after the departure of Mauricio Pellegrino. He steered the club to safety, finishing three points above the drop in 17th.

With the Saints in the top flight for another season, the club has announced the signing of Hughes to a new three-year contract.

“Mark, Eddie and I are thrilled to have signed long-term contracts with the club. It was the only option we considered, having spent the last eight weeks with the club,” Hughes said of himself and his assistant coaches Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki. “Now it is vital that we take the unbelievable support we received from the fans during the last few games into next season. The staff and the players will work hard every day to deliver the success this club deserves, and with everyone pulling together we will achieve our goals.”

Hughes guided Stoke City to three consecutive ninth-placed finishes, the highest the club had ever finished in the English top flight, but they finished 13th last year and regressed even further this campaign. The sale of playmaker Marko Arnautovic was particularly damaging, and the club scored just 35 goals in 38 games as a result.

At Southampton, Hughes took over a club that sat in 17th with just eight matches to go. He lost three Premier League games in a row to start his tenure and only won two league matches with Saints the rest of the way, but managed to keep the club barely afloat.