The Earthquakes moved into first place last Friday — first place in the MLS allocation list, that is. How was that so? In order to sign defender Michael Orozco on loan from Mexican team San Luis FC, the Philadelphia Union needed to trade up in the allocation order. The top team on the list was the New York Red Bulls, who agreed to allocation money from the Union in order to trade spots on the list. Then, with that number one pick, they secured the rights to Orozco. With that transaction, San Jose moved from #2 to the top of the list.
The MLS allocation order is reset after each season, in the same manner that the MLS Super Draft order is determined. With only NYRB finishing below the Quakes in the standings, and the introduction of the expansion Union, San Jose started the offseason in the third allocation position. Players subject to the allocation process include USMNT players at any level signing with MLS, former MLS players returning to the league whose rights are not already controlled by their former clubs, and any other players determined by the MLS Competition Committee.
Twice in the last two seasons, the Earthquakes have used their position in the allocation order to sign high profile players. In 2008, Haitian forward Peguero Jean-Philippe joined the Quakes for an ill-fated and short-lived return to MLS. Last year, midfielder and World Cup 2006 veteran Bobby Convey was claimed by the team.
There has been no mention yet as to if the Earthquakes are currently interested in any player through the allocation process. However, holding the first pick in the order does not require the team to take the next available player. The Quakes can choose when they want to exercise that pick, or even swap places with another team in the order via trade.
Which USMNT players or former MLS stars might we see come to the league in the near future? Who might the Quakes be interested in signing with their number one pick? Let the speculation begin…