The Union's deficiencies are glaring: defensive depth, central midfield depth (preferably players who do not suck), and wingers whose names don't rhyme with "Booze." The Union, ever-thrifty, will most likely be looking to fill some of these holes in the upcoming Re-Entry Draft. The quality of players available suggests that now would be a good time to do so. Featured in this year's draft are two former MLS MVPs, a USL PRO MVP, 16 players capped by the USMNT, and 15 players who have made appearances for other countries. Of them, which should be on the top of the Union's list?
Horst, a center back, only made two appearances for Portland this year. He's a Pine Grove, PA native and, at $70,000, seems like a very reasonable choice to back up Parke and Okugo. The Brotherly Game's very own Jared Young determined a number of players' true values by considering their guaranteed compensation and Castrol Index rating. Horst's Castrol Based Value is $36,141, close to the league minimum salary. Perhaps Horst's salary could be negotiated in the second round.
Alston could offer a more experienced option at left back or right back, as he has played both positions. Signing him could allow the Union to sell either Sheanon Williams or Ray Gaddis, both of whom are hot commodities at a position where there's a dearth of talent. Castrol Based Value: $53,891. This figure is obviously skewed because of Alston's time missed due to Leukemia. Not factored into this value is that the fullback pairing of Alston and Sheanon would undoubtedly give the Union the defense with the best hair in the league, and you can't really put a number on that. Alston has opted out of the Re-Entry Draft.
Barklage is another player who is able to put in time at either fullback or wide midfield spot, or as a defensive midfielder. Barklage had five assists last year, and is very versatile, which is a quality that Coach Hackworth seems to value pretty highly. Castrol Based Value: $245,125. That is, uh, staggering. He should go in the first stage.
Clark is a 29-year-old who could offer a better option at left winger than Danny Cruz. In 2011, after tearing his ACL in 2009 and in 2010, he put up four goals and three assists in 29 appearances. Since then he hasn't been able to lock down a starting spot, recording a combined 25 appearances in 2012 and 2013. Castrol Based Value: $42,712. His salary is already much more reasonable than Cruz's, and it could be negotiated in the second stage.
Convey is an honest-to-goodness product of Philadelphia. Before entering MLS, he attended Penn Charter. Since then, he has made nearly 50 appearances for the USMNT, and has put on the jerseys of DC United, Reading, San Jose, Kansas City, and Toronto FC. He is 30, and his starting price tag is pretty steep, but the Union might be willing to take a chance on the hometown boy. Castrol Based Value: $245,125. Convey has also opted out of the Re-Entry Draft.
Zakuani has only played 16 games since Brian Mullan's horror tackle fractured his right tibia and fibula. The season before the injury, he recorded 10 goals and six assists, and was considered one of the fastest guys in the league. If Zakuani can find his pre-injury form, he'd be a great pick-up. Castrol Based Value: $57,653. His salary will probably need to be negotiated in the second stage, as he had his breakout season over three years ago.