Re-Entry Draft

On the move? Seven players to watch during Stage Two of the Re-Entry draft

Bradley Wright-Phillips - New York Red Bulls - celebrates his goal vs. NYCFC - close-up

During the Re-Entry Process, the most heard phrase will inevitably be "pass," or some derivative thereof. But some players will be changing teams. Below are some players to keep an eye on.

But first, for something this complex, some housekeeping of the rules and caveats won't hurt. Stage One of the Re-Entry draft was last week as four players were taken: Mikey Ambrose (Inter Miami), Eric Miller (Nashville SC), Richard Sanchez (Sporting KC) and Kendall McIntosh (New York Red Bulls). Stage Two is Tuesday at 3 pm ET.

A quick reminder:

  • The players selected in Stage One will have their 2020 contract option exercised, or if they're out of contract, an offer must be extended that is at least equal to the player's 2019 compensation.
  • The players selected in Stage Two can have their contracts renegotiated.

The bigger names were left on the board after Stage One. Stage Two could get more interesting. Here was the complete list of players available in Stage One (an official list for Stage Two is coming Tuesday morning). And here is a full explanation of the rules

Got all that? Great!

Bradley Wright-Phillips 

The New York Red Bulls legend was not retained by the club but falls just below the service minimum for free agency, and thus is available for the Re-Entry draft. 

Wright-Phillips, who will turn 35 years old at the beginning of the 2020 season, was hampered by injuries in 2019. He played just 1,098 minutes and scored two goals which, it goes without saying, was not up to the lofty standards BWP has set. How much was the injury, how much was Father Time? 

Juan Agudelo 

This is Matt Doyle's hill, so I shall stand down and allow him to defend it with honor and vigor in his own words, lifted from the nine silly season moves he wants to see:

I firmly, relentlessly and probably stupidly still believe there is a break-out season waiting for Agudelo somewhere as a center forward. I can not quit him.
This belief has gone beyond tragedy and is probably now comfortably embedded as farce, because Agudelo scored all of three goals in 2019 with the New England Revolution, a year in which he spent most of his time playing basically anywhere except center forward. He has six goals in the past two seasons, and it's not like he hasn't been on the field during that time: my guy got almost 3500 minutes. And yeah, he's now been a pro for a decade and has never scored double-digit goals in a season.
But the talent is there (please inscribe that on my tombstone). Everyone who's ever watched Agudelo play has thought to themselves "oh man, if he just puts it together..."

Darwin Ceren 

A player who had Stage One potential given his cap-friendly number, Ceren is still on the board.

Ceren has made 112 MLS appearances over the last five seasons, though he made a career-low five starts with the Dynamo in 2019. The hard-working midfielder could be a solid depth play in the right situation. 

Miguel Ibarra 

An MLS original for Minnesota United and star during their NASL days, Ibarra will be wearing a different uniform in 2020 after his contract option was declined. 

Ibarra is as attractive an option as any available for selection. The former NASL MVP is in his prime at 29 years old, was on a friendly cap hit in 2019, is flexible across multiple positions and is a well-respected locker room figure. He fell out of favor in 2019 with the Loons, setting career lows in games played (22), goals (1) and assists (2), but a change of scenery could be the perfect elixir. 

Juan David Cabezas 

Speaking of changes of scenery being a perfect elixir, perhaps Cabezas could recapture his stellar 2017 form. Can he leave his injury concerns in the past?

Cabezas started 26 matches in 2017 but just nine over the last two seasons. A defensive anchor at the base of midfield and a player who only turns 29  in February, Cabezas has big risk/reward potential at the Re-Entry draft.

Joao Plata

A regular for RSL before falling out of favor in 2019, Plata has the talent to be worth a shot from another MLS team.

Plata, a tricky attacker, had at least five goals and five assists in four of his seven seasons with Real Salt Lake, including eight goals and eight assists in just 1,721 minutes in 2018.

The 27-year-old nearly departed for Liga MX last season, but the transfer fell through at the 11th hour. He made just two starts for RSL in 2019 before having his option declined. 

Victor "PC" Giro 

An enigmatic talent, it hasn't quite worked out for PC during his time in MLS. 

He made 16 appearances across two seasons with Orlando City before spending 2019 with the Vancouver Whitecaps, where he made 18 appearances (nine starts). A player who is comfortable playing left back or left wing, though probably best suited for left wingback, PC could be a useful depth option for some club in MLS.