Good evening folks. I am coming to you from St. Louis, which is experiencing downright Arctic conditions right now (at least it feels that way after four days in sunny Florida).
Tonight is the night when most of the big trades surrounding the MLS Draft will take place and there are few scenes more entertaining than the one at the league's hotel bar on the night before the draft. That is where team officials from throughout the league will gather to negotiate and, in some cases, finalize deals.
It sounds as though Sigi Schmid and Seattle are stealing Mo Johnston's thunder a bit heading into the draft. As you have known for a while, Toronto FC has been looking to shop the No. 2 and No. 4 picks in the draft, but now that Seattle appears to have decided to try and shop the No. 1 pick, the whole game has changed.
Why? Well, Seattle is different from Toronto because as an expansion team the Sounders can benefit from acquiring more picks in what almost every head coach and GM I spoke to last week is calling a storng draft. Toronto doesn't need picks and therefore had been limited to trying to acquire players and allocation money for its picks. Suddenly teams have become more interested in talking trade with the Sounders because now all those picks some teams have can go toward moving up.
Here are some other news tidbits from the evening:
The Red Bulls announced the completion of its trade of Mike Magee to the Los Angeles Galaxy, and yes, the deal was for a second-round pick in 2010. Other teams said to have been interested in Magee were Toronto FC (which would have re-united Magee with former Red Bull coach Mo Johnston) and Chicago, which is where Magee is from. Sources also tell me that the Red Bulls passed on a late offer from Toronto of the No. 13 pick for Magee, choosing instead to honor the deal it already had in place with the Galaxy.
FC Dallas has signed defender Steve Purdy from German club 1860 Munich. The young American defender spent time with the reserve team at 1860 Munich after passing up a chance to play for the LA Galaxy, which used a supplemental draft pick on him in 2007. With two years having passed, the Galaxy's claim on Purdy expired, allowing FC Dallas to pounce and add a big 6-foot-4 center back. It is an acquisition that would suggest that the Hoops will sit out the chase for Omar Gonzalez and focus on other areas of the field in the draft (such as fullback and central midfield).
The Galaxy traded the rights to 'retired' defender Ty Harden to the Colorado Rapids for a third-round pick. Not sure what led to that move but it seems likely that Harden is ready to return to MLS (or at least the Rapids are trying to lure him back). LA acquired the 35th overall pick in the draft for Harden's rights.
So who do I see winding up with the top draft picks when it's all said and done? D.C., Chivas USA, Kansas City and New England are the leading candidates to move up.
That is all for now. I will try to crank out some answers to the MLS Draft questions people asked tonight (I may also be posting any late-breaking developments throughout the evening). For now, feel free to share your thoughts on any of the above news items in the comments sections below.