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Blue Notes: Dom Dwyer a Free Agent, Ilie Farewell, Mock Drafts, Rusnak to Seattle

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Should Dom Dwyer return to Sporting Kansas City? I think we know the answer, but let’s explore.

SOCCER: JUN 14 US Open Cup - Sporting Kansas City v Minnesota United FC
 Sporting Kansas City forward Dom Dwyer (14) before a US Open Cup match between Minnesota United FC and Sporting Kansas City on June 14, 2017 at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, KS.
Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Four and a half years ago, Sporting Kansas City reamed Orlando City in the trade of Dom Dwyer. $1.6 million (and arguably more). He was pretty solid in his first year in Florida, with 13 goals but then he dipped a bit with seven goals and four assists in 2019. Nothing close to the production that would be warranted for the ransom Sporting KC earned off the trade (or Dwyer’s DP roster spot).

Since then, he’s fallen off the face of the earth. In the two seasons since (the most recent of which was with Toronto FC), he has zero goals and two assists across only 617 minutes. He went from being an underperforming Designated Player for Orlando to moving to Toronto as a free agent.

Now his career may have reached a new low. It’s reported that FC Dallas are trading for him, only to buy out his contract and release him (Toronto reportedly need to save their buyout for Jozy Altidore). In exchange for Dallas eating this money, Toronto sent the third overall pick in the SuperDraft to Dallas. So Dallas spent a bunch of money for the 3rd pick (they are flooded with it after the Pepi transfer I guess) and Toronto gave away the pick just to get Dwyer’s salary off the books.

That makes Dwyer a free agent. I did see a small subsection of SKC fans clamoring for a return of Dwyer. My gut reaction is that’s a terrible idea. He can’t stay healthy. He’s made way too much money. And he hasn’t been productive. But in the interest of fairness to Dom, who I really loved when he was in Kansas City, let’s look closer.

2019 Salary: $1,503,333

2020 Salary: Unknown

2021 Salary: $81,375

I won’t lie, I was stunned that Dwyer was making so little in Toronto (it makes that buyout even weirder unless Dwyer is due a big raise). That’s the Supplemental Roster (spots 21-24) minimum salary. It’s not out of the question that SKC add Dwyer. Sure he hasn’t scored since 2019, but he’s barely played. He’s gone through some personal strife in recent years.

At least Dwyer would be a guy that Peter Vermes was willing to put in the game if the past is any indication. If nothing, he’ll come into the game and work really hard and try to rehab his career. He would also need to not be toxic in the locker room, though most of the guys he was with during his prior stint are gone.

All that said, he was probably due a big raise and that’s why Toronto made this deal. But if he got bought out, maybe he’s fine having made his money and looking for a rehab deal. I don’t foresee it in Kansas City as I recall him saying Orlando was his “spiritual home” which didn’t sit well in KC, where he won an MLS Cup and lead the line for years.

For the record, I’d probably take recently released Wilson Harris over Dwyer, but my evaluation of him could have been wrong since he’s gone so quick.

Ilie’s Farewell

Ilie Sanchez has officially been off Sporting KC’s roster (**sobs**) since the end of the 2021 season. However, the rumor is he is on the verge of signing with LAFC for the 2022 season. It’s only fitting that he gets a chance to say goodbye first. He wrote his farewell and had The Cauldron post it.

Update 1/11/22 @ 8:27 AM CST: A bit more confirmation on the Ilie to Los Angeles FC news.

Albert Rusnak to Seattle

The Seattle Sounders are about to get much richer. Former Real Salt Lake Designated Player Albert Rusnak appears to be on the move. Rumors have him joining the Seattle Sounders who actually already have three DPs.

As Sam states, Joao Paulo would no longer be a DP and would be bought down to a Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) player. Paulo was only making about $1 million in 2021, so he’s well under the TAM max of $1,612,500.

However, unless Rusnak is taking a large pay cut (he made about $2.35 million, so that’s about $700,000+ cut), that means Seattle would have three ‘true’ DPs. All that really means is they can’t add another without a trade or transfer and they can’t sign anymore U-22 Initiative players (you only get one, and Leo Chu already has that designation).

I’m not sure exactly how this team lines up with Nico Lodeiro and Rusnak, but it seems like the offense will be even better. Hopefully they’ll decline in their defensive quality at least.

Sporting KC Mock Draft Picks

There have been a few more mock drafts since we last reported on this. Sporting have three picks in Tuesday’s draft.

MLSsoccer.com: Lucas Bartlett, St. Johns University, CB

This is a curious pick because Bartlett is from the SKC Academy. Therefore, Sporting wouldn’t need to use their 22nd overall pick on him, they could simply sign him as a Homegrown. The only reason I could see him going in the draft is so he could sign with SKC II instead of taking up a spot on the first team. The only reason SKC should do that is if Bartlett is likely to get selected by another teamt.

“Bartlett’s on the older side of things (born in 1997). So while there may not be much development left for the center back, he has the size and skills to be a rotation-caliber center back.”

For reference, the original mock draft pick, Mohamed Omar, is going way up at 7th to the Chicago Fire in this mock.

Top Drawer Soccer: Philip Quinton, Notre Dame, CB

Another center back which would be an interesting prospect for SKC II (because that’s realistically the only place someone in the SuperDraft picked 22nd is going).

“Yet another big center back, Quinton’s profile popped after Notre Dame’s deep run in the tournament. Standing at 6-foot-6, he’ll get a shot at boosting the team’s back line depth. Plus, there’s a history of Sporting taking center backs out of Notre Dame, so why not give it a shot again?”

Omar goes 7th again and Bartlett goes 15th (New York Red Bulls) in this draft. What’s interesting is Travis Avery conducted all three of these first three mocks, many of them just days apart.

Draft Utopia: Philip Quinton, Notre Dame, CB

I’d like to tell you why the author believes Quinton will end up in KC, but his entire write up talks about why Quinton would be a good fit for the LA Galaxy (who pick 21st).

For consistency, DU has Bartlett at 21st to the Galaxy and Mohamed Omar at 16th to the Vancouver Whitecaps.

College Soccer News: Daniel Munie, Indiana University, CB

Every single mock as SKC taking either a defensive midfielder (Omar) or a center back (everyone else). It’s interesting because I would say just pick the “best available” player. They are going to SKC II anyways (if they sign at all). That team has almost no one signed, so wherever the talent lays makes sense. Here is College Soccer News’ analysis of the Munie pick:

“Sporting KC select Munie, the Big Ten Defender of the Year for the Hoosiers. Munie is your classic center back archetype, as he’s a non nonsense defender, who’s very good aerially. Coach Vermes will look to mold him into a Matt Besler-esque long term defender.”

Bartlett is at 20 to the Sounders, Omar is 7th to Chicago and Quinton isn’t in the 1st round.