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Posted at 7:40 AM ET, 12/15/2010

MLS re-entry draft, part 2: the Re-Re-Entrying

By Jeff Maurer

It's a good thing that last week's round 1 of the re-entry draft wasn't covered on TV, because any network blocking off an hour of time would have ended up airing 55 minutes of Alf reruns. And the Alf reruns would have had more intrigue and drama than the draft; there were a total of two selections in the five-minute draft, both of them roster-depth-type guys.

One of those guys was Joseph Ngwenya, chosen first overall by D.C. United. Quick reaction: I'm underwhelmed. Ngwenya didn't even make my list of possible selections. He's not the impact striker that United need. Still, the more I look at this pick, the more I like it; Ngwenya is a good player, and at $75,000 in 2011, he's value for money. As long as United don't now consider themselves set at striker, I'm behind this move.

Wednesday is round 2, and there should be a lot more activity. In round 2, teams can renegotiate a player's salary subject to MLS' re-entry draft rules, which are about to easy to understand as your average rocket launch sequence. All of the big name, big money guys from round 1 were passed over, so United have options. Jimmy Conrad? Still on the board. Juan Pablo Angel? Empty dance card. Carey Talley? The tantalizing possibilities abound.

I really want United to take Conrad or Angel, and I'll be a bit surprised if they don't. But I can think of two reasons why they might not: Dejan Jakovic and Pablo Hernandez . Those guys would likely be displaced by the acquisition of Conrad or Angel, respectively, and both are on the books for substantial salaries in 2011. I'm pretty sure that Hernandez is only guaranteed money through mid-year, but still: can you afford to carry a third (or fourth?) striker in the mid-200s for half a year?

Some of United's other recent activity complicates the picture. They signed Maryland defender Ethan White to a homegrown contract (great move). They have the third pick in the upcoming draft. They're still negotiating with Adam Christman. The roster is filling up. Whatever United do in round 2 will have a huge impact on their moves going forward. But after 6-20-4 season that dispirited fans and raised the level of snark on this blog to Perez Hilton-esque levels, a huge impact is exactly what United need.

By Jeff Maurer  | December 15, 2010; 7:40 AM ET
Categories:  Jeff Maurer, United  | Tags:  D.C. United, Jeff Maurer  
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Comments

Why couldn't Conrad play along with Jakovic in a 4 back system? Is it just about the contract sizes? I could see Jakovic and COnrad in the middle, Zayner on the right and Burch on the left (assuming we don't sign a left footed defender). Then midfield would be Simms and Branko/McCarty, Branko/MCarty on the left, Najar on the right and forwards to be determined by practice on the right. I again, that another forward has to be signed and let Pontius, Ngwenya, Quaranta and Cristman fight for the other spot every week.

Posted by: jsm3 | December 15, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

@jsm3: I could see that, although I think it's entirely possible that James and/or White move ahead of Jakovic in the pecking order. Personally, I rated James ahead of Jakovic at the end of last season.

Posted by: JeffMaurer | December 15, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

A lot of us have penciled James ahead of Jakovic after Dejan's step back last season. I think if we land - and sign! - Angel this afternoon, United will probably be looking at a 5-man midfield/lone-striker formation next year (not unlike the MLS Cup runners up this past year) - think Simms & McCarty backing up Boskovic in the center, with Najar out right, Pontius/Quaranta on the left, and Angel holding things up in front.

I'd definitely like to see another centerback signing, though. And I wouldn't mind some more speed and attacking impetus at fullback (particularly on the left side, unless Burch has learned in the last year how not to send 90% of his crosses over everybody and out to touch).

Posted by: TheAMT | December 15, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Between Angel and Schelotto I'd rather have Schelotto. He looked like he had more in the tank late in the season (Angel's playoff goal was his first since July), and you'd be talking GBS down from $250k, whereas you'd be talking JPA down from *1.6 *million*.

But I'd take Conrad over either of them. And that's with our present situation (I think we could use a guy who will give you 1800+ steady minutes and good leadership).

Posted by: stancollins | December 15, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

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