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Four Potential Targets for Sporting KC in the Re-Entry Drafts

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And two other sorta options that are way overpaid.

SOCCER: OCT 24 MLS Cup Playoffs - Philadelphia Union at Atlanta United FC Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Waiver Draft Process came and went on Monday with no moves from Sporting Kansas City, yet another opportunity presents itself — two stages of the Re-Entry Draft Process. Just four players were picked up in Monday’s waiver process but two of those four were predicted by our own Mark Baehr. Mark and I are back again today to see if there are some other targets worth Sporting KC taking a chance on.

Re-Entry Process Stage 1

Mikey Ambrose - Left Back - Atlanta United

2019 Salary: $72,351.60

Mark Baehr: A cheap domestic left back with less behavioral issues that Danilo Acosta (Editor: who was chosen by the LA Galaxy on Monday), though, also with lower potential. With Seth Sinovic gone (though not looking to retire), he could make for a decent backup, though he would likely never be a starter.

Miguel Ibarra - Right Wing - Minnesota United

2019 Salary: $342,318.00

MB: A very versatile player, Ibarra has played left back for the Loons before but makes more sense as a backup to Johnny Russell on the right wing. Neither Gerso Fernandes nor Daniel Salloi have looked particularly comfortable on that side of the field, and both have suffered from consistency issues even when playing on their preferred left side.

With Russell likely to be called up regularly for Scotland, SKC will need someone to cover for Russell if they play matches through the international break, as well as give him a rest from time to time. The main downside to Ibarra is that his salary is relatively high, with his 2019 guaranteed compensation being listed as $342,318.00.

Cody Cropper - Goalkeeper - New England Revolution

2019 Salary: $77,519.52

MB: If Sporting wish to add a third keeper from within the league, Cropper is strong candidate. He has more experience than most keepers in the draft but would not command a high salary like free agents Luis Robles and David Ousted would. Once highly regarded but now struggling to find his form, he will no doubt try to replicate Tim Melia’s career resurrection at whichever club picks him.

Derrick Etienne Jr. - Forward - New York Red Bulls

2019 Salary: $82,062.56

Chad Smith: This is 100% a rehash from Monday. I will not apologize. Etienne turned 23 yesterday and he enjoyed a breakout year in 2018 (five goals, one assist in just 961 minutes across five starts and 11 appearances).

2019 was a down year and he was ultimately loaned to lowly FC Cincinnati. He still couldn’t break into the lineup there (just 219 minutes). His father played nationally for Haiti but Etienne would not take up an international spot as he’s a dual citizen. He would be inexpensive depth at center forward and winger and he could spend his time with Sporting KC II if all goes well for the guys ahead of him in MLS. I like him more than Ibarra simply because he’s cheaper and younger.

Re-Entry Draft Process Stage 2

After today’s Stage 1 of the Re-Entry Process, players who don’t opt out, will head to Stage 2. Yesterday, I had Uri Rosell slotted here but he signed a new contract before he could be selected.

I’ll stick with the two other selections I made yesterday with the caveat that they are overpaid and in Stage 2 it makes more sense as their contracts could be negotiated down. I doubt either player wants to take a pay cut significant enough to make this work though.

Cristian Higuita - Midfielder - Orlando City

2019 Salary: $611,662.67

CS: I’ve always been a Higuita guy. He’s a defensive midfielder and he plays very fiery. He’ll be 25 in December but he saw his minutes dwindle in 2019 (partly due to Oriol Rosell joining OCSC). While he is Columbian, he doesn’t cost an international spot. He’d be a back-up option for Ilie who still has lots of potential to take the first team job one day.

Joao Plata - Winger - Real Salt Lake

2019 Salary: $856,254.00

CS: Even though he plays for RSL, I’ve always liked Plata. The Ecuadorian doesn’t count as an international and, even though he’ll be 28 in March, he still brings speed for days on the wing. He’s scored 49 goals in his MLS career though he just had one in 305 minutes last year. At a greatly reduced wage, he’d be a good MLS depth option if Vermes looks to fill in on the wing without going overseas. He also has 48 assists in his MLS career.

If Chad Were Picking...

I’d be hard pressed to take any of these guys. Plata and Higuita make the most sense from a talent perspective, but they would need pretty massive pay cuts which seems unlikely. Two of Mark’s picks could be logical if Sporting KC don’t have other plans at the positions. Ambrose is an inexpensive option to be a backup left back, though I’d prefer the team sign former Swope Park Ranger left back Alexsander. He’s younger, probably just as cheap but his downfall is he’s an international and his loan to SPR is over so there could be a transfer fee too.

The other “maybe” for me is Cropper. Sporting have a history of picking goalkeepers through the Re-Entry Process. I like the Tim Melia comparison Mark made and if nothing he’s cheap depth to sit on the bench while Eric Dick spends nearly all of his time with Sporting KC II. However, I won’t be surprised when SKC do nothing again.

As mentioned, Sporting do have a history of being slightly busier in the Re-Entry Process. In 2016 they selected GK Andrew Dysktra from D.C. United in Stage 2 on what amounted to a one year rental before he was traded to the Colorado Rapids. In 2015 they selected GK Alec Kann in Stage 1 before he was ultimately lost in the expansion draft to Atlanta United.

Before those picks, you have to go back to 2012 to discover more Kansas City moves. They didn’t select anyone but they traded for two defenders. First was Josh Gardner and then some guy named Ike Opara.

The Re-Entry Process Stage 1 starts at 2:00 PM CT today with Stage 2 running on Tuesday, December 2nd at 2:00 PM CT as well. For the full offseason schedule, head over here. The Blue Testament will keep you informed on if Sporting KC make any moves in these drafts processes or otherwise.