In the Tuesday, November 16th, 2010 edition of The Soccer Daily, we talk about respecting Dallas and Colorado and the potential for shakeups across MLS with the implementation of the re-entry draft.
With J Hutcherson — During Monday's media call, FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman did exactly as expected and talked a bit about 'respect.' It's a nebulous term when applied to professional sports, and usually overlooks the obvious for dramatic effect. The reason Dallas and Colorado didn't get 'respect' is because the better teams disappointed. It was the same story last season for eventual champions Real Salt Lake. Again, that's not as much of a knock as the teams involved seem to think.
Granted, there's motivational value in playing up the 'no respect' angle, but not when the other team can say the same. That didn't stop Hyndman, who opted to stress the familiarities between Dallas and the Rapids.
"The interesting thing with Colorado, they're very similar to us," Hyndman said. You look at what happened this year, either team really got the respect from the media or from people in the soccer world. The four or five people in my family that chose FC Dallas in the final were probably the only four or five people that did that. And I'm sure Colorado could echo some of those same things."
Maybe, but Dallas had respect until they lost to Salt Lake and then the Galaxy to finish the season. They certainly regained respect by knocking the Galaxy out of the playoffs. Colorado? Well, not so much.
Our Eastern Conference representatives were the last team with a target on their back as Kansas City tried to find a way into the playoffs. With the Wizards playing themselves out of contention, Colorado got a big late season win at LA and then closed out 2010 with RSL scoring twice in stoppage time to draw at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
Colorado is a quality mid-tier team that got the benefit of playing through the Eastern Conference and not facing New York in the opening round. If you want to talk about respect, nobody respected the Columbus Crew in a playoff scenario.
The Rapids are no more a surprise package than Dallas. Both have the personnel and results to show they belong in MLS Cup. Rapids coach Gary Smith got a lot closer to that line of thinking during his press statements on Monday.
I'm not suggesting that the angle of motivation these two clubs decide to take will tilt the balance. It's just interesting that the clear favorite with lots of positives to stress still seems slightly stuck on defining 'respect' in Major League Soccer.
Moving on, Columbus became the first MLS team to jump on what could be a transitional off season for a lot of clubs. The new re-entry draft and the expansion draft should mean multiple teams with new looks. Right now, there's the potential for a 2011 Columbus squad minus Frankie Hejduk and Guillermo Barros Schelotto, among others. One would assume the Crew won't be an anomaly.
Setting aside the now regularly scheduled expansion drafts, the last time the League introduced a mechanism that led to rampant redistribution of players was in January, 2002. That would be the contraction of the Florida clubs and the allocation and dispersal drafts that followed.
It was eight years ago, but it's worth a look at how that allocation draft went. The allocation draft – open to any team wanting to use their allocations – took eight players, three from the roster of the last place Tampa Bay Mutiny and five from the Eastern Conference winning Miami Fusion. Three of those picks went to New England, who set part of the foundation for their MLS Cup contending seasons by picking up Carlos Llamosa and Steve Ralston. It's also how Pablo Mastroeni ended up in Colorado.
The rest of the Mutiny and Fusion rosters went in a dispersal draft that took a dozen players and had teams opting to pass on a pick by the end of the first round. The quick result of that contraction Winter was New England getting significantly better in a hurry. They finished first in a weak year for the Eastern Conference and lost the MLS Cup in overtime to Los Angeles.
MLS might be entering another Winter where the team with the best read on the rules can take quick advantage. Using Columbus as the early example, there will be teams giving up players that can make other teams better in 2011.
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