Welcome back to Daniel Sloane-Suarez’s MLS adventure with FC Dallas! If you want to catch up on any previous updates, check the link here.
In the last two updates, we went over the first team and the staff. Now, I’ve got the preseason wrapped up, and our first Major League Soccer match – an away match against the Los Angeles Galaxy – is in three days. We do have something going on before that, which is why I’m making this post instead of getting started on the season.
In this update, I want to go over the March waiver draft. When the MLS asks for the teams to submit their rosters for the upcoming season, any senior players not marked as “In” will be “waived” and removed from the team as they aren’t registered to play in the season. Since the MLS is a single entity, there’s no true free agency as all contracts are technically held by the MLS and not the individual teams. The March waiver draft offers waived players in the off-season the opportunity to pick up a new team before the transfer window closes, with the drafting team either picking up the terms of their existing contract or offering a set of new terms outright.
The March waiver draft is occurring on March 2, 2017, for me, and 10 players have been waived by assorted teams in the league, including three from FC Dallas, and these players are up for draft by any team that may want them.
During the March re-entry draft, teams are given priority on picking players based on their position in the league table the previous season, with the last place team getting the first pick and the winners getting the final pick. This is designed to encourage parity in the league because it gives the worse-off teams the opportunity to get the better players in the league. This is something I will cover in more detail when the season ends and we go through the SuperDraft, but I wanted to give a brief overview to explain how the order of the teams is determined.
In this particular draft, there are two rounds, but if a team chooses to pass on their first round, they exit the draft and won’t participate in the second. The March waiver draft isn’t one that I personally put a lot of attention into. Once in a rare while there’s a decent rough diamond you can try to polish out and get some good years from, but for this particular draft, it’s almost a guarantee that most players will never be worth paying attention to, otherwise they wouldn’t have been dropped by their teams on the eve of the MLS season.
As you see on the screen, on the top of the list it shows each team participating in the draft and what overall pick their turn will be on, from 1 to the end. In my particular image, since I took it during my turn, most of the teams in the league have opted to pass and leave the draft, hence the spaces and differences in overall pick numbers at the top.
On the right is a summary of each pick in the draft and who did what, enabling you to keep up-to-date on the action in the draft.
The centre panel shows the player selection, and it shows each player based on whatever scouting knowledge you have of the players, so for a player like Victor Ulloa who I released, I’ll see everything, but I may not see all of a player released by Sporting Kansas City, for instance.
The buttons at the bottom should be self-explanatory. You can click “See Next Pick” to see the next team’s pick, you can click “Skip” to go right past everyone else and to your turn in the draft, you can click the “Draft” button to pick the highlighted player, you can ask your assistant’s opinion on who to take, you can pass/finish the draft, and complete and leave it at the end.
Now that that’s out of the way, I want to say that I did not make a pick for any player. I was eyeballing the French fullback Bradley Diallo, but ultimately decided he wasn’t going to be seeing much play time with me.
I did release three players who participated in this draft, so I want to go over who it was and why, because there is at least one name who might be a surprise.
Victor Ulloa joined the team in 2011 as a product of the youth academy, and he’s made 126 appearances for the team while scoring 6 goals. Technically, mentally, and physically, he’s not a bad player at all, and he could be a very good midfielder for me.
It’s almost disappointing to cut such a good homegrown player from the team, but the simple fact of the matter is that I’ve got 10 potential midfielders when you figure in my natural and cross-trained people, and he’s the fourth or fifth on the list and his current ability doesn’t have a whole lot of room left to grow. He’s going to be a backup at best when he wants to be a more regular member of the team, and I’m just not sure there’s a good place for him, so it’s time to make a cut somewhere.
17-year-old Paxton Pomykal has also been cut. He’s almost to first team material, but he’s not a particularly high potential player, and he’s also one of those surplus midfielders. Unfortunately for Pomykal, he’s departing the club with no appearances for the youth team or senior team.
Javier Morales joined us from Real Salt Lake this year under Oscar Pareja’s management, but he’s not going to have a place for me on this team. I know, you’re looking at these technical and mental attributes, and you’re thinking I’m crazy, right? He’s a great player still! Well, yeah, he is, but his physical attributes are dropping pretty significantly, and he definitely doesn’t have more than one or two seasons in him at best.
I don’t know how Pareja planned to use him, but I don’t plan on using him in a stationary position, I need agile players who can spend a full 90 minutes moving around their designated areas, so I need someone who’s still got some movement left in them, so he’s being cut out in favour of some of my younger players, of which I’ve got plenty in the first team.
I will likely not cover the March waiver draft in future seasons since it’s largely a waste of time unless you’re in charge of a chronically weak MLS team and you’re looking for whatever you can get, but I wanted to have it covered this time around to introduce the mechanic to anyone not familiar with any of the MLS drafts.
This is the schedule for the preseason and the first two months of the MLS season. As you can see, we have had a fantastic run so far with no losses against fully professional first and second division clubs, including my fictional Sloane-Suarez’s former team Miami. We’ve had our share of injuries over the off-season, though everyone is expected to be fit and ready to play against the LA Galaxy in a couple of days to start the MLS season, and after 7 matches, I’ve got a pretty good idea of what I want my regular first team to be.
In the next update, we’re going to be a couple of months into the season, and we’ll go over our results so far in the league.