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Kick Off: Talent up for grabs as Re-Entry draft continues

Last chance saloon. That’s the prospect some MLS stars are facing, as the final step in the Re-Entry process looms large Friday afternoon.

Stage 2 of the Re-entry draft will take place at 3 pm ET today, with plenty of star names yet to be picked up, most notably Conor Casey, Juan Pablo Ángel, Julian de Guzman and Kevin Hartman.

Stage 1, held last Friday, saw just one player taken, as former D.C. United forward Maicon Santos went to the Chicago Fire. Plenty more moves are expected this week, though, with many sides look to bolster their squads ahead of the SuperDraft.

“There are some talented players remaining,” Toronto FC director of team and player operations Earl Cochrane said. “The chances are pretty good that we will do something.”

Who might be the best bets? MLSsoccer.com's Nick Rosano looks back at the players who have made the biggest impact from previous Re-Entry Drafts, and who the names could be this year.

De Guzman is certainly one of those, but FC Dallas have said they still want the Canadian midfielder on board. Meanwhile, JDG appears to favor a move to Germany to be near his children.

“Our last conversation with Julian was that we wanted him back,” head coach Schellas Hyndman said. “What he wanted was to look at options. Something potentially still could happen, but it would have to be a way for us to work the numbers and international spots. But we’re not counting Julian out.”

Danny Califf, Chad Barrett, Stephen Keel, Eric Avila, John Thorrington and Ramiro Corrales also headline the 49 players still available.

Click here to see the full list of players who your side can pick up in the latest stage of the Re-Entry draft.

With a busy Friday expected across the league, Thursday was pretty lively. The topic on everyone’s lips was Rafa Márquez leaving the New York Red Bulls.

The former Barcelona star was a villain for many across MLS, so now that he’s gone who should take over? Take your pick. We’ll give you a clue who is winning. He’s tall and he's blonde. That should do it.

Speaking of a certain mop-topped forward, Jonah Freedman takes a look at MLS’ leading villain in this week's edition of The Throw-In.

And in case you missed it, here's just a taste of Nick Firchau’s commentary on Márquez’s turbulent MLS career: The Márquez experiment had great intentions and wonderful promise, but it took a dramatic turn for the worse, because one individual steered it right into the ditch.

Then, just a few hours after Rafa’s departure from the Red Bulls was confirmed, he landed with León of the Liga MX. Read Goal.com’s story here.

So the debate rumbles on about Márquez’s impact, as The Guardian asks the question: Was Márquez the worst-ever MLS Designated Player? 

Staying briefly in New York, check out this report from the New York Post that claims Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz wants a pro soccer team in Brooklyn

It seems as if professional basketball and hockey isn’t enough for Brooklynites these days. No Sleep 'til Brooklyn indeed.

That takes us to a team who haven’t been resting on their laurels over the offseason: Sporting KC. Head coach Peter Vermes spoke with the guys on ExtraTime Radio on Thursday. See what he had to say about the offseason moves. And Dan Kennedy stopped by to chat Chivas, learning Spanish and the USMNT.

Back to SKC, after tying down hometown defender Matt Besler to a new deal, Sporting added Ike Opara and Benny Feilhaber to the ranks this week and now they have another new man.

Cameroon defender Yann Songo’o comes from a rich soccer background. He is the son of Cameroon goalkeeping legend Jacques Songo’o and the brother of Portland Timbers midfielder Franck Songo’o.

So with two brothers potentially playing against each other in MLS next season, could there be another pair doing the same? Kaká rumors continue to swirl with USA Today the latest outlet to link the 30-year-old to LA.

Another reported long-term target for the Galaxy spoke out on Friday, and Frank Lampard fears his days at Chelsea could be numbered: "The ball is in Chelsea's court. I feel like I have two or three years at least in me at the top level but it is not for me to decide on this one. It's up to the club. Whatever happens, I have had a great time at Chelsea. Maybe things don't last forever, although I want it to.”

Lampard was speaking ahead of the Club World Cup final against Corinthians on Sunday in Japan. Chelsea reached the final after defeating CONCACAF champions Monterrey 3-1 in the semifinal on Thursday.

Much of the focus was on the younger generation on Thursday, however, as the Columbus Crew signed promising midfielder and Ohio native Wil Trapp to a Homegrown deal.

"It's surreal. It's massive,” said Trapp. “I've dreamt of it every night and now it's here.”

The Akron product has appeared five times for the US U-20 side this season, and he was named alongside the likes of Luis Gil, Marc Pelosi and Jack McBean in the final U-20 camp of the season.

Vancouver were busy on Thursday, too, as veteran defender Young-Pyo Lee signed another deal for the ‘Caps and hopes to be part of the front office setup in the future.

Lee had a very good first season in MLS during 2012. A team who bounced back to have a great 2012 as well was the Chicago Fire. Check out their Season In Review here, with an Opta Spotlight and Armchair Analyst to break it down.

And finally, in case you missed it, here are videos and photos from the absolutely crazy Copa Sudamericana final between São Paolo and Tigre. The latter refused to come back out onto the pitch for the second half, as the game was marred by violence on and off the pitch. Such a shame.

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