Since Major League Soccer initiated a re-entry draft several years back, only five players have been selected in the first of the two stages. Thats when teams must pay selected players according to their current contracts.
The Fire was the only club to select a player in that stage of this years re-entry draft that was held on Friday. The other 18 teams passed, preferring to wait for next Fridays second phase when more players are traditionally chosen.
Brazilian forward Maicon Santos was the lone player chosen on Friday. In his fourth MLS season, he had seven goals and three assists for D.C. United last season and has 21 goals and eight assists in his MLS career.
Javier Leon, the Fires president of soccer operations, called the 28-year old Santos "a talented forward who brings with him a scoring touch."
Just where Santos will fit in is uncertain. The Fire has returnees Sherjill MacDonald, Dominic Oduro, Patrick Nyarko and Chris Rolfe returning as forwards who drew considerable playing time and up-and-coming Kellen Gulley is waiting in the wings as a promising young player.
The Fire made its best use of the re-entry draft in 2010, when defender Cory Gibbs was acquired in the second phase. He was an immediate starter, but a knee injury suffered early last season led to his retirement two weeks ago. Forward Kheli Dube was the latest player chosen via the re-entry draft in 2011. He was released midway through the season.
While no other clubs make a re-entry draft selection on Friday, one did make two major moves. The Philadelphia Union brought back forward Sebastian Le Toux in a trade with the New York Red Bulls and also traded for Philadelphia native Jeff Parke, a defender who had been with the Seattle Sounders.
Le Toux was a popular player for the Union for two seasons under head coach Peter Nowak, the first Fire captain. Le Toux was sent to Vancouver in a controversial trade last season prior to Nowak being dismissed from his job. The Union went on to a disappointing season and is making a major rebuilding effort.