After chasing the day-to-day trade clocking for a couple weeks, and with the Super- and supplemental drafts all wrapped up, today seems as good a day as any to pull it all together. Plenty of changes have already happened and plenty more look likely to happen before Major League Soccer’s (MLS) 2008 season kicks off. The point here is seeing which teams appear most ready and complete with training camps starting in fairly short order.
Below is the most current and, hopefully, thorough record of the player traffic surrounding each of MLS’s 14 clubs. By way of mixing the old with the new, links to each team’s roster will be embedded in their name, while you can find the players each MLS team took in the respective “drafts” here: SuperDraft and supplemental. Completing the picture is SoccerAmerica.com’s list of off-season player moves.
Clocking the incoming traffic is, of course, a little complicated: a number of the players taken via draft won’t make the full roster and, regarding transfer-market horse-swapping, a number of deals remain in progress. So, here’s what will happen in this space: on trades, only “done-deals” – or those that seem “done enough” – will appear. Going the other way, I’m going to treat the players picked up through either draft as part of the team. That said, distinction between players coming in by transfer (e.g. the one’s the club actively sought out, so we’re pretty sure they’ll play) versus the draftees (e.g. who may be waived by the end of February) will be made. And, of course, corrections of oversights and omissions are entirely welcome.
Finally, a “grade” of sorts, followed by an assessment of how each team looks (as judged by me…obviously), comes after the naming of names. After toying with a, frankly, unworkable grading system (shh…that’s my secret) I’m going to roll with something pretty simple: letter grades. Just like in real life, a grade of a C equal passing – or, in this case, post-season competitive…if only just in some cases. One big thing to clarify on these: this isn’t simply awarded for the quality of the team; consideration for the improvement they have made since the end of 2007 also plays a role, a big one even. As for the assessments, I’ll try to keep them brief and based solely on current, as opposed to possible, circumstances; I can always catch up in future posts.
So, them’s the rules. Time to dig in: Continue reading