The immediate dissolution of Chivas USA, announced by MLS on Monday morning, will require the league to disperse its existing roster among the other MLS teams. In a manner similar to what the league did in 2002 following the contraction of the Miami Fusion and Tampa Bay Mutiny, MLS is expected to hold a Dispersal Draft, details of which will be announced in the coming days.
The San Jose Earthquakes, by virtue of losing to Chivas USA in the club's last ever match, finished the 2014 season in 18th place and are likely to be rewarded with early pickings off the Goats carcass. Only the Montreal Impact earned fewer points than the Quakes this year, so they will select ahead of San Jose in the Dispersal Draft. The two new expansion teams for 2015, New York City FC and Orlando City, may or may not get to choose ahead of Montreal and San Jose -- the league has not decided on this.
So what windfall can the Earthquakes expect from the demise of Chivas USA? The following is a list of all the players on their roster as of Monday's announcement:
Some tasty bites populate the list, and the Quakes can be choosey in sinking their teeth into those available. The biggest prize on the list is Erick "Cubo" Torres, the 21 year old Mexican international, but MLS did indicate on Monday that he will likely be distributed to another team via a separate mechanism than the Dispersal Draft.
Torres has a transfer fee that will be paid to his parent club, Chivas of Guadalajara, and MLS will likely pony up for that -- said to be in the $7 million range -- and sign him to a Designated Player contract. At that point he could go through the Allocation process, or, if his salary surpasses a threshold as determined by the league, be assigned the highest bidding team in MLS that seeks his rights.
So, that leaves Cubo unavailable for the Quakes to select. Are there any other enticing choices? Former Earthquake Marvin Chavez is one, as is familiar face Bobby Burling, and young midfielder Eric Avila is another. Though he plays at a position that is not of need for the current Quakes, 32-year old goalkeeper Dan Kennedy is an attractive target. Beyond that, the Chivas USA cupboard is rather bare.
In the 2002 Dispersal Draft, teams were allowed to also select among the MLS Superdraft picks of Miami and Tampa Bay. Participating teams could also trade up or down the Dispersal Draft selection order list. Perhaps the Earthquakes will eschew a choice of a current Goat and instead will look to gain something in trade from their lofty selection status. Picking up a player that has already shown his value seems a better choice than gambling on an unproven rookie, but that requires the selected player to fit in with the vision general manager John Doyle and head coach Dominic Kinnear have for the 2015 Earthquakes roster.
Pick a player, pick a draft pick, trade their pick entirely -- what do you think the Quakes should do? Share your opinions in the comments section below.