Fire take four in Supplemental Draft
for the time being -- on Friday as the 2005 MLS Supplemental Draft was held via teleconference. The four-round draft was completed with the clubs selecting from a pool of eligible players mostly made up of talent not taken in January's MLS SuperDraft.
"Despite what we thought was a very solid SuperDraft last month, we did identify some players that we felt would be good additions to our team," said Fire head coach Dave Sarachan. "We were leaning more on the attacking and goalkeeping sides of things, so we felt we accomplished what we wanted to round out our roster."
Of the 48 players selected, 46 came directly from the college ranks. Five schools had two players selected Friday, led by NCAA College Cup runner-up University of California-Santa Barbara, along with Ohio State University, University of Maryland, St. John's University and University of California.
Just as in last month's SuperDraft, expansion teams Real Salt Lake and CD Chivas USA were given first crack. RSL took Clemson University midfielder Steven Rhyne with the opening pick of the Supplemental Draft, followed by the selection of Javier Barragan (California State University-Dominguez Hills) for CD Chivas USA.
Barragan should feel right at home with Chivas USA, since the club's home stadium, The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., sits on the campus of his alma mater. Barragan was also a product of Chivas USA's "Sangre Nueva" project, where they held open tryouts for local talent last autumn.
Barragan was also the first of several local-area picks by all 12 MLS teams, many calling for the services of players already residing in and around the respective clubs.
The Los Angeles Galaxy, co-inhabitants of The Home Depot Center, also stayed close to home with their selections. They picked Benjamin Benditson (California State University-Northridge) with their opening-round selection before adding three other California players with later picks. The Galaxy also took University of Cincinnati product Jeremiah Gellegos with the 46th overall selection.
FC Dallas led all clubs with six selections in the draft. They took Justin Cook (Ohio State) with their opening-round pick. They then had three selections in the second round and one each in the third and fourth rounds.
The Columbus Crew had five picks, two of which came early. Matt Oliver (University of Virginia) and Bill Gaudette (St. John's) were chosen by general manager Mark McCullers and his staff with the eighth and ninth overall picks.
Also picking early were the San Jose Earthquakes. The acquired Brett Rodriguez of Creighton University with the fifth overall pick, the first of their four on the day. Jason Hernandez (Seton Hall) followed Rodriguez, the defender taken by the MetroStars with their only selection in the opening two rounds. The Colorado Rapids also only had one selection in the first 24. They picked Sasha Gotsmanov (University of Rhode Island) and then added a pair of late-round selections.
The 2004 MLS Cup competitors -- the Kansas City Wizards and D.C. United -- were slated to pick last in the Supplemental Draft, since selection order was based on reverse order of finish in the 2004 season. Kansas City picked Edwin Ruiz (Hartwick College) in the first round, while the MLS Cup champions acquired Matthew Nickell of Drake University. The Black-and-Red closed out the draft with the 48th overall selection, taking American University product Shawn Kuykendall.
The New England Revolution were forced to wait out the first round. Their opening pick came in the second round, as they took Jamie Holmes of Birmingham Southern College. After adding seven new players during the SuperDraft, the Chicago Fire continued to add to their roster on Friday. Four new players joined the 'Men in Red,' led by Justin Cook, a 24-year-old forward from Ohio State.
MLS added the Supplemental Draft this year to help teams fill out their rosters to a record-high 28 players. Eighteen of those will be considered members of the Senior Roster, while the remaining 10 will be part of the Developmental Roster. The league will field reserve teams this season for the first time, giving developmental players a chance to play in competitive games throughout the season.
Major League Soccer's 10th season is scheduled to kickoff on April 2 with a full slate of games. Highlighting the day is the nationally televised visit of MLS Cup holders D.C. United to expansion club CD Chivas USA (3 p.m. ET, ABC). The complete MLS schedule will be released in the near future.
Jonathan Nierman is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.