Original Sounders FC midfielder Zakuani goes to Portland in Re-Entry Draft
Posted by: Matt Gaschk
The former Akron player reunites with his college coach Caleb Porter in Portland.
The MLS Stage One Re-Entry Draft is usually a quiet day.
Thursday was far from the norm, though, as Sounders FC lost Steve Zakuani after five years in Rave Green. The Portland Timbers selected Zakuani second overall pick, moving the 25-year-old midfielder down I-5 for the 2014 season.
Marc Burch was also selected with the 11th pick by the Colorado Rapids in a class of draft picks that included Sean Franklin and Bobby Boswell going to DC United and Corben Bone going to the Philadelphia Union.
Zakuani had 17 goals and 14 assists in 80 regular season matches, ranking third on the club’s all-time scoring list and fourth all-time in assists. The speedy left winger added one goal in seven playoff appearances, three assists in seven U.S. Open Cup matches and one goal and one assist in seven matches in the CONCACAF Champions League.
Zakuani came to Seattle with the first overall selection in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft, and he burst on the scene in his rookie season. Starting in 24 of his 29 appearances, Zakuani had four goals and four assists in a promising first season as a professional.
He followed that up with a stellar second season, sharing the team-lead with 10 goals and adding six assists in 29 matches, including 27 starts. Poised to take the next step in 2011, Zakuani started the year with two goals and two assists through his first five matches before a shattered leg ended his season and threatened his career. He would come back for eight appearances late in the 2012 season, but injuries limited him to just eight more matches in 2013, giving him 22 matches in the last three seasons.
In Portland, he is reunited with his college coach, Caleb Porter, who now is Head Coach with the Timbers.
To acquire the second pick in the Re-Entry Draft, Portland sent defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste and the No. 17 pick to Chivas USA in exchange for the No. 2 pick and Jorge Villafana.
Burch, 29, played two seasons in Seattle after coming to Sounders FC through Phase 2 of the Re-Entry Draft in 2011. The left back had seven assists in 49 appearances for Seattle, starting 32 times.
An eight-year MLS veteran, Burch started his career with the LA Galaxy in 2006 and was later traded to the Columbus Crew. In 2007, he was moved to DC United and was a regular contributor for five years there. In 152 career matches, he has three goals and 17 assists.
He joins a Colorado team that finished fifth in the Western Conference in 2013 and lost in the Knockout Round against Sounders FC.
With the first overall pick, DC United selected Franklin, who played six seasons with the LA Galaxy. A first-round pick in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft, Franklin won MLS Cup in 2011 and 2012 with the Galaxy, netting five goals and 20 assists in 160 matches. He was joined at DC by Boswell, a former Houston Dynamo defender. This will be Boswell’s second stint with DC United, after he played his first three MLS seasons there. In nine MLS seasons, he has 13 goals and nine assists in 257 matches.
Finally, Philadelphia selected Bone with the sixth overall pick, acquiring the 25-year-old midfielder after four seasons with the Chicago Fire. He had one assist in 18 matches, starting eight times in his MLS career after being selected 13th overall in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft.
Players who were not selected in Stage 1 can now renegotiate with their previous clubs before Stage 2 next Wednesday.