With Juan Agudelo and Saad Abdul-Salaam the only two players selected in Stage 2 of the MLS Re-Entry draft on Tuesday, a list of nearly 50 players are now available to any MLS club on a first-come, first-served basis.
There’s plenty of talent on this list, though some of it may take some coaching to coax back to top form. Here’s five names who look like the most attractive prospective signings.
Note: There are often backstories to the Re-Entry list, with some players making plans to continue their careers elsewhere outside MLS or continue negotiating with their current club.
For example, Cristian Higuita is still just 25 and retains substantial promise, but he’s publicly stated his intent to move abroad, as he has no desire to shift his allegiance to a competitor of his longtime club Orlando City SC, so he’s not on this list. Similarly, Bradley Wright-Phillips removed himself from the Re-Entry process as we wait to see what he does next after parting ways with the New York Red Bulls.
We start with an absolute no-brainer. I was surprised when Minnesota United cut loose their longtime winger after season’s end, and was nearly as startled to see no one else in the league snag him on Tuesday. It’s understandable that some might be put off by his 2019 salary – guaranteed compensation of $342,318, according to MLS Players Union documents – but Stage 2 allows teams to negotiate on a new number and, at this point, the 29-year-old could become the bargain of the winter.
Ibarra works hard, knows the league, is respected among his peers and can play several wide roles, including right back and wingback. Reports have linked him to the Houston Dynamo, where he could strike up his old Batman-Superman partnership with striker Christian Ramirez, and New York City FC. If Tab Ramos and La Naranja don’t get this done, someone else will.