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Six players Dallas could target in the 2017 Re-Entry Draft

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Dallas is in desperate need of depth, and this afternoon’s draft could be a good way to add some

MLS: Orlando City SC at Philadelphia Union Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

MLS off-season excitement never ends. Coming off of a thrilling waiver draft that saw 21 teams pass, get ready for more confusing MLS roster shenanigans with round one of the Re-Entry Draft tomorrow in which Dallas holds the 10th pick.

First, let’s talk about how the draft works:

  • In Stage 1, clubs must exercise the option for or extend a "Bona Fide Offer" to any player selected. Clubs may not select their own draft-eligible players. Should a player reject the offer, the drafting club will hold the right of first refusal for that player in MLS. Players with option years left on their contract will automatically be added to the drafting club’s roster.
  • In Stage 2, all players who were not selected in the first stage will be available again. Teams who select a player in Stage 2 will have the right to negotiate with the player for a new contract

And who is eligible

  • Players who are at least 23 years old and have a minimum of three years of MLS experience whose contract options were not exercised by their clubs. They will be available at their option salary for 2018.
  • 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. They are available for at least their 2017 salary.
  • Free Agents that choose to participate.

Basically, in stage one, you have to match the player’s current salary, but in the second round, you are free to re-negotiate. This is an important difference and key when determining which players FCD should target and in which round of the draft. Generally, the Re-Entry draft isn’t a bad place to pick up some depth or possibly find a diamond in the rough like Dallas did in 2015 when they drafted Maxi Urruti. Dallas also brought Atiba Harris onto the team through the Re-Entry draft in 2014. Historically, Dallas has been more willing to utilize the Re-Entry draft than other teams, so let’s take a look at some targets that could be added to the roster via the Re-Entry Draft:

Matias Laba

Matias Laba would be a low risk/high reward signing in the second round. FCD could negotiate a more manageable salary and he could provide necessary depth in midfield. This being a positive move is contingent upon his recovery from ACL surgery, his salary, and how much he bites into the playing time of a guy like Jacori Hayes. If you’re a big play your kids guy, you may be worried that Laba’s presence could bite into the playing time of Jacori Hayes.

At the end of the day if Laba comes back healthy he would be a great Carlos Gruezo replacement if Carlos’ game is ever off, he’s on international duty, or he just needs a rest. Hopefully, Dallas comes into this season with better depth than last year. Laba is a great depth player, a gamble of a young player like Carlos Cermeno was not.

Dillon Powers

The son of a longtime Sidekick, FC Dallas needs to bring this DFW kid home. Powers won MLS Rookie of the Year in 2013 under Oscar Pareja and would be a low-risk depth signing that could end up yielding starting player production under the right guidance. He’s capable of pushing Kellyn Acosta and providing a contender to the number 8 position.

London Woodberry

Another son of a Sidekick, Woodberry is a Homegrown player that got away. He’s capable of playing center back and right back and his option for 2018 is only $69,300. Bringing back home guys like Powers and Woodberry could give Dallas some more serious depth instead of taking a flyer by signing unknown South Americans who may not adapt to MLS as quickly as required.

Mauro Rosales

Rosales played only 52 minutes last year, but he seemed to enjoy his time in Dallas evidenced by his appearance at training even when he wasn’t under contract with the club. Even if FCD doesn’t bring him in through the Re-Entry draft, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in Frisco still practicing with the team.

The question is, is Rosales good enough for FCD’s aspirations? He may have been in 2016, but 2018 is a new story. With Dan Hunt putting a renewed focus on youth, and the Javier Morales signing being a bust, Dallas may be wary of signing a veteran MLS player to back up Diaz.

Amobi Okugo

At this point, Dallas needs to be looking for center back depth wherever they can find it, and Okugo offers that as well as the ability to slot in at defensive midfielder. By all accounts, he’s a level-headed guy who runs his own blog dedicated to being a frugal athlete. He would be a veteran, but still, only 26, to bring in that wouldn’t shake things up in the locker room. He’s currently on a base salary of $65,000 and I could see Dallas picking up his option.

Victor Bernardez

Like Laba, Bernardez would be a great second round target. His current option is for $225,000 and that’s a little high for a bench player, but his signing could mean that Maynor Figueroa could play his more natural left back (although I think we would all like to see a third party be brought in there). Bernardez would seriously contend for the starting center back position next to Matt Hedges.

Bernardez has a reputation as someone who isn’t afraid to dive into a tackle or make a cynical foul. Dallas needs someone like that. Hedges is far from dirty and Gruezo shows it at times, but Bernardez could be a valuable asset to protect players like Mauro Diaz.