All eyes in Major League Soccer will turn to D.C. United when the 2014 SuperDraft opens with the first selection at 9 am PT from the Philadelphia Convention Center on Thursday, but D.C.’s approach to the pick may have been altered when the 2013 U.S. Open Cup champions added former Sounders FC defender Jeff Parke.
The Philadelphia Union, who acquired Parke in a trade with Seattle last year, sent Parke to D.C. in exchange for defender Ethan White and the top spot in the Allocation ranking, moving United to the sixth spot in line for returning U.S. internationals or players who left MLS previously for a transfer fee.
While the 2014 draft class is heavy on center backs, the acquisition of Parke doesn’t necessarily preclude D.C. from selecting either Christian Dean or Steve Birnbaum from California, but it could open up the doors for the pursuit of another player in another role at that spot.
Parke, 31, made 31 starts for the Union in 2013 after spending three seasons with Sounders FC from 2010-2012, making 78 appearances for the Rave Green.
The Union reportedly is in pursuit of U.S. National Team midfielder Maurice Edu and if it adds a player through the allocation process, Sounders FC would move to the top of the ranking.
TIMBERS PICK UP TWO ARGENTINES AND AN HGP
After striking gold with Diego Valeri in 2013, the Portland Timbers are dipping into the Argentina well again, signing forward Gaston Fernandez and defender Norberto Paparatto.
Fernandez had played all over Argentina and Mexico in his 12 seasons as a pro, making stops at River Plate, Racing Club, San Lorenzo and Estudiantes in Argentina and Monterrey and Tigres in Mexico along the way before landing in Portland. He had 48 goals in 224 matches in the Argentine Premier League and an additional 18 goals in 51 matches in Mexico.
Paparatto has played with Club Atletico Tigre in Argentina since 2007.
Along with Valeri, Portland also features Argentine forward Maximiliano Urruti.
The Timbers also announced the signing of Akron defender Bryan Gallego to a Homegrown contract. Portland acquired the Homegrown rights to Gallego from the New York Red Bulls along with allocation money in December of 2012 in exchange for defender Kosuke Kimura and a second round SuperDraft pick in 2013.
DP MIDFIELDER JOINS UNION
Portland wasn’t the only team signing Argentine stars, as the Union inked midfielder Cristian Maidana as a Designated Player on Wednesday. The 26-year-old winger brings experience from Argentina, Russia, Spain, Mexico and Chile to the table for Philadelphia.
CHIVAS SIGNS “BOFO”
The long-awaited signing of Mexican National Team forward Adolfo “Bofo” Bautista was finalized this week, bringing the longtime star of the Mexican league to Chivas USA. Bautista, 34, is best known for his time with Chivas de Guadalajara, where he scored 45 goals over 167 matches. Bautista had 10 goals in 38 caps for the Mexcian National Team and will pair at forward with Erick Torres for Chivas USA.
SAN JOSE WINS SCHULER LOTTERY
In another move in the Western Conference, the San Jose Earthquakes acquired former college standout Billy Schuler in a weighted lottery on Tuesday, picking up the North Carolina product when they beat out Real Salt Lake in the second weighted lottery of the year.
San Jose and RSL were the only two teams entered into the lottery for the 23-year-old forward, who spent two seasons with Hammarby IF in Sweden that included a loan stint with Nacka FF.