Wednesday MLS released the all important dates for the drafts that can help shape the 2015 Fire roster. You can view all of the dates in the press release, but here is a quick run down:
2014-15 MLS Offseason Calendar
TBD - MLS Dispersal Draft for Chivas USA
December 7, 2014 - MLS Cup Final
December 8, 2014 – Half-day Trade Window: Open 9 am ET - 1 pm ET. Teams may trade during that window or may re-sign their own players. Blackout period starts at 1 pm ET, runs through the MLS Expansion Draft.
December 10, 2014 - MLS Expansion Draft
December 10, 2014 - Trade Window opens at the end of Expansion Draft; closes on December 11, 2014, at 5 pm ET
December 10, 2014 – MLS Waiver Draft
December 12, 2014 - MLS Re-entry Draft, Phase One
December 12, 2014 – Trade Window opens at the end of Re-entry Draft Phase One; closes on December 17, 2014, at 11 am ET
December 18, 2014 - MLS Re-entry Draft, Phase Two
December 18, 2014 – Trade Window opens at the end of Re-entry Draft Phase Two
January 2-5, 2015 - MLS Caribbean Combine
January 9-13, 2015 - MLS Combine
January 15, 2015 - MLS SuperDraft
Quite a few drafts to keep an eye on, especially for the Fire!
First is the expansion draft. This will help supplement the rosters for NYCFC and Orlando City but each established team in the MLS will lose at most two players. We will find out by December 8th who Yallop & Co. will protect for the draft - that is, if they have enough players to protect.
The next draft day that should provide some headlines is the re-entry draft, phase 2. Since the re-entry draft has been initiated most years there has been little movement during the phase 1 part of it, as teams normally pass on the salaries that players could make if their options are picked up. The Fire, like the rest of the league, has a habit of waiting until phase 2 to select players to bring in. With the amount that the Fire has spent on the roster over the past few seasons this is where I expect them to bring in 3 or 4 players to add to their roster.
The last draft to keep an eye on is the MLS Superdraft. With the Fire tentatively holding the 7th pick in the 2015 edition, they may be able to pick up a young player that may be ready to contribute right away. With depth being an issue heading into this off-season, I would expect Yallop to actually use the pick and not use it for trade bait. It is too early to tell who will be available in the Superdraft but there are plenty of amateur players that could fill in quite nicely for depth. Look for more information on these drafts as the dates come closer.
However the Fire add players to their roster, this off season is very crucial for the current brain-trust and especially the owner, since they will bear all the blame if there is no improvement during the 2015 season.