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Will Columbus look to the MLS waiver draft to tweak its roster?

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Today’s waiver draft offers another avenue for the Black & Gold to add a player. But will they?

MLS: FC Dallas at Colorado Rapids
Could Hernan Grana return to Columbus? Doubtful. But he is one player available in today’s MLS waiver draft.
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

It’s that time of year. The time of year when Major League Soccer implements a different convoluted mechanism for acquiring players every day.

Yesterday was the MLS expansion draft, in which Columbus Crew SC continued its tradition of losing players and said goodbye to Jukka Raitala, who was selected by Los Angeles FC and later traded to the Montreal Impact.

Today? Get excited for the MLS waiver draft!

It kicks off at 3:30 p.m. EST.

What does this mean, exactly? It’s an opportunity to select from a pool of players (this year, it is 59) who were either waived or did not have contracts renewed and do not fall under the terms of eligibility for the re-entry draft (i.e., at least 23 years of age with 3+ years of MLS service or at least 25 years of age with 4+ years of MLS service) or free agency (28 years of age, eight years of MLS service and out of contract).

If you can make sense of all those restrictions ... congratulations and proceed. If you can’t ... don’t worry, neither can most fans.

That’s OK. What it boils down to is there are a bunch of players their teams no longer wanted. The league then gives all MLS teams a shot to negotiate with those players through the waiver draft.

Here is the draft order:

  1. LA Galaxy
  2. D.C. United
  3. Colorado Rapids
  4. Minnesota United
  5. Orlando City
  6. Montreal Impact
  7. Philadelphia Union
  8. New England Revolution
  9. Real Salt Lake
  10. FC Dallas
  11. San Jose Earthquakes
  12. Sporting Kansas City
  13. Atlanta United
  14. Chicago Fire
  15. New York Red Bulls
  16. Vancouver Whitecaps
  17. Portland Timbers
  18. New York City FC
  19. Houston Dynamo
  20. Columbus Crew SC
  21. Seattle Sounders
  22. Toronto FC
  23. Los Angeles FC

Crew SC has the 20th pick in the draft, but it likely won’t matter. The reality is, few teams ever use the waiver draft. Teams have the option to pass on selecting a player, and most do. Last year’s draft so a grand total of .... drum roll, please .... zero players selected. The year before, just one player (Michael Azira) was selected. Azira turned out OK for the Colorado Rapids, as he started in the defensive midfield and helped the Rapids to a great season. But the mechanism is one that’s seldom used.

Why? Well, there’s a reason all these guys are without clubs. Many of them couldn’t make the cut at the MLS level. That’s the case with many of the younger players on

MLS: Orlando City SC at Atlanta United FC
Antonio Nocerino. Unwanted.
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

the list below. But there are some more notable names like Gideon Baah, Antonio Nocerino and Oguchi Onyewu. The reason those players are here is because teams didn’t want to pay the players what they were making under their previous contract or contract option.

The catch with the waiver draft is that when a player is selected, the club must make the player a bona fide offer, which, according to MLS definitions, has to be “reasonable” and will result in a new contract not far removed from the previous one. Like the teams that allowed these players to move on, most clubs aren’t interested in paying these players what they were making before. And thus, the waiver draft is very uneventful.

Players who pass through the waiver draft unselected are then free agents who can negotiate with any team with no framework for that negotiation. So teams can often pick up players at a lesser cost than if they selected them in the draft. All the draft does is give teams the first seat at the table if a club really wants a player.

All of this means that Crew SC, like most of the other clubs in the league, will likely pass today.

Or maybe they’ll use it to bring Hernan Grana back to Columbus.

But, hey, there’s always the re-entry draft on Friday.

Here’s the full list of available players in the waiver draft:

Player; Previous Club

Allen, Brandon; NY

Aubrey, Brandon; TOR

Baah, Gideon; NY

Barry, Hadji; ORL

Basuljevic, Arun; NY

Brown, Calle; HOU

Buescher, Julian; DC

Calistri, Joey; CHI

Camargo, Miguel; NYC

Camargo, Sergio; TOR

Colvey, Kip; SJ

Cortes, Eduardo; DAL

Davis, Justin; MIN

Dekovic, Matej; CHI

Diallo, Bradley; LA

Diop, Clement; LA

Donovan, Conor; ORL

Dunk, Reagan; RSL

Escalante, Jose; HOU

Garcia, Devron; ORL

Gatt, Joshua; COL

Gomez, Shannon; NYC

Gonzalez, Luis; DAL

Goossens, John; CHI

Grana, Hernan; DAL

Greig, Kyle; VAN

Holland, Joe; HOU

Hollingsworth, Marshall; CLB

Holness, Omar; RSL

Hunter, Taylor; HOU

Iwasa, Cameron; SKC

Jome, Ismaila; MIN

Jones, Aaron; PHI

Klenofsky, Eric; DC

Lewis, Zeiko; NY

Meira, Joao; CHI

Metzger, Dan; NY

Mfeka, Lindo; SJ

Nocerino, Antonio; ORL

Obinwa, Abuchi; CLB

Onyewu, Oguchi; PHI

Otoo, Jeffrey; ATL

Porter, Cameron; SKC

Saravia, Rodrigo; CLB

Schmidt, Justin; RSL

Seiler, Cole; VAN

Silva, Matheus; SJ

Smith, Nathan; LA

Smith, Josh; NE

Struna, Andraz; NYC

Swanson, Ben; CLB

Tribbett, Ken; PHI

van Anholt, Pele; LA

Velazco, Ricardo; RSL

Venegas, Kevin; MIN

Villarreal, Jaime; LA

Vincent, Rob; DC

Wijnaldum, Giliano; PHI

Williams, Mekeil; COL