Monday, December 5, 2011

Carlos Mendes Taken by Columbus in MLS Re-Entry Draft

Mendes: Le Dernier Metro
Carlos Mendes, the last squad member to have played for the New York MLS franchise as a MetroStar, was selected by Columbus Crew in phase one of the MLS Re-entry draft this afternoon. Mendes, Arturo Alvarez and former Red Bull Danleigh Borman were the only three players taken in the first round, when teams are on the hook for the full amount of players' contract options. This means that thew Crew will pay Mendes' $98,150 base salary in 2012, while the Red Bulls will have to find defensive help through the draft, academy signings, via trade, or on the international market.

Mendes, a Long Island native, played his college soccer at Old Dominion, before joining the Long Island Roughriders in 2002. He then spent two seasons with the Rochester Raging Rhinos before being signed by the (then) MetroStars in 2005. Over six seasons, Mendes made 146 appearances for the Metrobulls. He was a fixture at the heart of the RBNY defense for a number of seasons, before getting relegated to bench duty under Bruce Arena. Mendes featured more regularly under Juan Carlos Osorio, and enjoyed a very fruitful defensive partnership with Tim Ream in Hans Backe's first year in charge, 2010, after Mike Petke's retirement. The 2011 season saw Mendes again mostly relegated to the substitute bench, though his ability to play anywhere along the backline made him a valuable spot starter when injuries or suspensions hit.

Mendes has always been a consummate professional, and we'd like to wish him well in Columbus - with the exception of games against the Red Bulls, of course.

The second stage of the re-entry draft will take place on December 12. With a number of interesting players still available, including Real Salt Lake's Andy Williams, expect to see more action next week, when teams can negotiate new terms.

One more bit of news emerging today (via the New York Post's Brian Lewis) is that RBNY will sign St. John's defender Connor Lade as a homegrown player. Lade, a diminutive defender (5'5", 140 lbs.) was twice named Big East defender of the week in the 2011 season, and helped lead the Johnnies to the Big East title, defeating UConn in the final at Red Bull Arena. It's hard to see how a 5'5" central defender could work in MLS, but perhaps the club has plans to shift him out to fullback, where his speed and mobility can be an asset.

With the Red Bulls having cut a number of reserve team players recently - and given the club's lack of selections in the upcoming Superdraft - it's possible that we could see several homegrown signings over the winter. Lade's St. John's teammate Walter Hines - another player of Richie Williams-like stature - might also be on RBNY's radar. Stay tuned.
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