The ever-turbulent offseason took another big step forward Wednesday as the Second Stage of the Re-Entry Process concluded with eight more players, including one of the all-time MLS greats, finding new homes.
There’s plenty more to come, of course – the international transfer window hasn’t even opened yet, and the SuperDraft is still four weeks away – but given the abundance of intra-league moves that have gone down in the past month, it’s worth looking at which team has made out the best so far. Here are the top three moves of the offseason to date:
Chad Marshall to Seattle
It was no surprise to see Sigi Schmid turn to the man so crucial to his Supporters’ Shield/MLS Cup double with Columbus when he found himself needing to solidify a capable but thin backline.
Marshall has consistently impressed as one of the best defenders in MLS even from his first season with the Crew in 2004, when he started 30 games and was a Rookie of the Year finalist. Now a seasoned veteran, Marshall has shown that he is still a more than capable starter in the league
Even as Seattle GM Adrian Hanauer promises one or two more big signings – and they'll more than likely be in the more widely-admired wing and attacking midfield positions – the addition of another proven, starting-caliber center back alongside Djimi Traore and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado could push the Seattle backline from good to elite, and that'll be huge given the lack of a clear No. 1 (for now) in goal.
D.C.’s Re-Entry Draft
OK, so it’s cheating a bit to go with four players, but the simple truth is that D.C. cleaned up in the Re-Entry Draft like no other team has in the mechanism's three-year history. They picked up two starting-caliber defenders including a former MLS Defender of the Year in the first stage, then picked up one of the more underrated, consistent forwards in MLS and more defensive depth in the second round.
Sure, Fabian Espindola’s finishing may have fans at RFK pulling their hair out everyonce in a while, but he’s also good for at least 8 or 9 goals and a few assists per season, which is nothing to scoff at for a D.C. team that only scored 22 goals in 2013.
And while Bobby Boswell, Sean Franklin and Nana Attakora may not jump off the screen at you, they are accomplished players who have plenty left to offer -- and some MLS Cup and Shield titles to show off in a locker room that needs leadership. It's a blend of skill and experience that should mesh nicely on a previously-young D.C. team.
Mauro Rosales to Chivas USA
He may be 33 by the time the 2014 season stats, but there’s no reason that Rosales can’t bring a badly-needed dose of creativity to the Chivas attack.
Though his attacking numbers were down slightly in 2013, he played more minutes and more games, and had more starts, than his previous two seasons in the league, so there’s some reason to believe that he might have another 2,000-minute season in him, especially playing on the grass in Southern California.
Not only is the prospect of Rosales linking up with the likes of ‘Cubo’ Torres and solving the Goats’ set-piece problems an enticing one, he will also provide a respected presence in the locker room. He's played at some of the most pedigreed clubs in the game, knows the league well and speaks good English in addition to his native Spanish. In short, Rosales is the type of player that could key a big Chivas turnaround, not only on the field, but off it as well.