Hello folks. The 2008 MLS Draft is upon us and I can tell you that there hasn’t been this little enthusiasm about a draft since World War II. Coaches were talking trade all of last night and the impression I got after talking to some people is that teams just aren’t going to pay much for picks. You can thanks San Jose for that after the Nick Garcia deal.
Most of the league’s coaches could be found at the hotel bar last night as teams were testing the waters hoping to either move up or move out of the first round. Here is a rundown of what was seen and heard last night:
I didn’t hear of any trades going down but after seeing Crew head coach Sigi Schmid and Real Salt Lake general manager Garth Lagerwey in deep discussions it wouldn’t surprise me to see them make a deal. There was some talk of Kansas City turning around and dealing the No. 1 overall pick less than a week after getting it, but I can’t imagine the market will be strong enough to justify dealing it.
From the "Oh Really" department comes word that Chivas USA is entertaining the possibility of trading forward Ante Razov. If the Goats are serious about dealing Razov, you can expect the line of interested coaches to circle the block at the Convention Center. Where might Razov wind up? How about Chicago, where he could join in on the 1998 Chicago Fire reunion taking place. San Jose would also be interested in the all-star striker.
Speaking of the Fire, the reunion that I told you would happen last weekend has now taken place. Frank Klopas has been named Fire technical director and Mike Jeffries is the club’s new assistant coach. And to no one’s surprise, Chris Armas has also joined the coaching staff in Chicago. The team hasn’t issued a release on this but it was pretty clear that this is the new brain trust when Denis Hamlett, Jeffries, Klopas, Daryl Shore, Armas and John Guppy were all huddled around a table at the hotel bar plotting strategy.
I’m sticking to my call of Julius James as the first overall pick to Kansas City. I know some folks think it will be Patrick Nyarko but I think KC will address forward needs elsewhere.
In other news, Andy Iro continued his game of "If you’re a team I don’t like then don’t draft me" by telling this website that Preston North End are one of the English teams he spoke to this winter. So let me get this straight. Preston has real interest but you’re still taking your chances in the MLS Draft even though you have no contract with the league? At least one team official said he doesn’t think there’s nearly as much interest in Iro overseas as he is trying to suggest, while one coach said he had bucket for feet and would struggle in MLS.
One person not working the bar for trades was Juan Carlos Osorio, who called it an early night in preparation for today’s draft. The impression I get is that he’s done talking trade and will focus on finding value with the No. 16 pick.
Another popular subject last night was word that Eric Wynalda and Dave O’Brien are being replaced as U.S. national team and major MLS game commentators for ESPN. A team of JP Dellacamera, Bruce Arena and John Harkes was being rumored to take over. Let me be the first to say that Dellacamera as national team play-by-play guy can’t happen soon enough. He’s the best in the business. Let me also say that the three-man booth model just doesn’t work for soccer. Hopefully someone realizes this eventually. This hasn’t been made official yet by ESPN though so stay tuned for confirmation.
That’s all for now. I will be heading to the Convention Center at around noon to set up shop. For those of you who hadn’t heard, I will be doing a live chat from the draft on ESPN.com. You will be able to fire your questions at me during the first two rounds of the draft.
I will also set up a post on SBI for you to follow along with the draft so be sure to check back in for more draft day news.