By Neil Davidson
THE CANADIAN PRESS
TORONTO _ Stage 2 of the MLS Re-Entry Draft drew just two takers Thursday.
Orlando City SC used the seventh pick to select former New England Revolution defender Kevin Alston while the Portland Timbers, picking 20th, took former Houston Dynamo centre back Jermaine Taylor.
Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and the other 15 teams passed. Still there are more MLS moves to be made.
The 27-year-old Alston made 155 appearances in seven seasons with New England. Taylor, a 30-year-old Jamaican international, made 106 appearances for the Dynamo.
They both became available when their former teams declined their contract options.
Orlando and Portland have a week to make a contract offer to the picks. If a deal isn’t struck, the club has right of first refusal for the player in MLS.
Forward Maximiliano Urruti (FC Dallas) and goalkeeper Alec Kann (Sporting Kansas City) went in Stage 1 of the re-entry draft last week.
Available players who were not selected in either stage of the draft are now available to all clubs on a first-come, first-served basis.
They include goalkeeper Chris Konopka, Brazilian
defender-midfielder Jackson and forward Robbie Findley, who all
played for Toronto last season, as well as Vancouver ‘keeper Paolo
Toronto ‘keeper Joe Bendik and Vancouver defenders Steven Beitashour and Pa Modou Kah and midfielder Mauro Rosales all opted out of the re-entry process, meaning the right of first refusal for them remains with their former club. Montreal defender Hassoun Camara avoided the process when he signed a new deal with the Impact last week.
Toronto and Montreal currently have 24 of their 28 rosters spaces filled while Vancouver has 21.
In opting out, Bendik is essentially gambling on himself _ looking to find a team he wants to join that is willing to give Toronto some token in return. Expect a trade.
Beitashour and Portland midfielder Will Johnson have been linked to Toronto. Both make sense given Toronto’s need for a right back and a holding midfielder who will shield the back four while allowing captain Michael Bradley to roam the field.
Toronto GM Tim Bezbatchenko just has to make the numbers work. Johnson made US$334,333 last season while Beitashour earned $197,166.
The club, which has some excess defenders available to move, is looking inside and outside the league for help in its positions of need.
Johnson counts Bradley as a close friend with the two having grown up together in the Chicago area. The Canadian international remains under contract with the Timbers but did not play much of a part in Portland’s Cup run.
Toronto, which has two international slots open, remains on the lookout for a veteran goalkeeper. The clubs would be happy to go into the season with an experienced ‘keeper and youngsters Alex Bono and Quillan Roberts competing for the future No. 1 spot.
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