Chivas USA were a team, and now they're not. Last week, following the news the club was officially shuttered, MLS Commissioner Don Garber said a Dispersal Draft would be held to sprinkle the players remaining under contract around the league. That's supposed to take place sometime before Dec. 1.
So we're here to give you a guide of who's available, and who could be picked in the one of many, many ways for MLS teams to obtain players in this offseason.
A few caveats: Since Chivas USA no longer exist, I doubt we'll get official word of which players are still under contract. There's a chance a list could be released a day or so prior to the draft, but I doubt it will be public. Also, it's unclear if players who have contract options will get those picked up by MLS, or if they will become free agents, since if their option is picked up, the league is on the hook for paying at least some of their salary in 2015.
Also, we have no idea how many teams will participate. Presumably, the 18 surviving teams from 2014 will definitely be involved (though they are not required to pick players), but what about the 2015 expansion teams, New York City FC and Orlando City SC? Will they be in it at all? An expansion draft will take place Dec. 10 between the two sides, so they could be exempt from the Dispersal Draft, slotted in at the bottom of the draft order, or at the top.
As a result, I'm not going to do a "Mock Dispersal Draft" (wow, does that sound depressing). For now, let's look at the Chivas USA players who stayed until the end, and the projected chances they'll be selected:
GUARANTEED TO BE TAKEN:
Dan Kennedy, GK: Kennedy is under contract for one more season, he confirmed himself to reporters last week, and he's respected around MLS in a way most other CUSA players are not.
He should go No. 1 in the Dispersal Draft, but that's not necessarily a given, considering he's a 'keeper. If a team has an established starter, they may pass on him, but it's pretty likely Kennedy will go near the top, and he may be one of a handful that even get selected.
VERY LIKELY TO BE SELECTED:
Andrew Jean-Baptiste, D: Had a disappointing season, in part due to lengthy injury layoffs, but played fullback for the first time in his career in a pinch. The big things going for him are A.) He's young (22) and B.) Coaches will probably give him the benefit of the doubt for getting sucked into the Chivas USA vortex. He'll likely be going to a new MLS team.
Marky Delgado, M: Another youngster, and Delgado's a 19-year-old with plenty of MLS experience at a variety of positions. He's played central midfield, wide midfield and both fullback slots in two seasons. Has had minor season-ending knee surgery two years in a row, so there may be concerns about durability, but the Homegrown player has a lot of upside.
LIKELY TO BE SELECTED:
Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, D: He was the final player added to the team, and while he's probably not the defender he was a few years ago, he's likely to still have market value in MLS. He could be a backup for a playoff-caliber team, but it seems like he could be a starter for one of the weaker teams in the league.
Bobby Burling, D: He was taken in the Expansion Draft ahead of 2012 by Montreal, and they held onto his player rights without signing him as trade bait until the Goats picked him up that summer. His consistency can be questioned, as he seems to play either well enough or badly, and he's slow. But he showed tremendous strides, frankly, in spurts in 2013. Like Hurtado, I don't see him slotting in as a starter on one of the top teams, but he could probably be good depth for a good team, and I think his ceiling at this point in their careers is higher than it is for Hurtado's.
Thomas McNamara, M: Will be coming off a major knee injury, but McNamara impressed early in the year before tearing his ACL. Speed wasn't really a main part of his game anyway, so he should likely find a new home and show the versatility he had with CUSA before the injury.
Caleb Calvert, F: Hasn't played a minute in MLS, but the big young striker (he just turned 18) will probably get picked by some MLS team. He's likely to go to USL PRO for a time, but he should get a real shot, somewhere.
Nathan Sturgis, M: Come on, he's played on a record seven MLS teams already. His peak came in 2013 with the Rapids, but don't be surprised if FC Dallas take him, given former Rapids coach Oscar Pareja's current gig and the difficulty finding midfield cover at various times this season in Frisco.
MIGHT BE PICKED:
Nigel Reo-Coker, M: He's got talent, and probably helped his cause quite a bit with the strong October for Chivas USA, but he makes a lot of money, and he may not be good value for MLS teams. I'd say it's a 35% chance he gets taken, a decent chance his contract is canceled and he ends up back in MLS at a lower price, and a roughly equal chance he goes back to England or maybe ends up in Turkey or something.
Marvin Chavez, M: He burns through MLS teams really fast. Still able to contribute something to MLS teams and still getting call-ups to the Honduran national team, Chavez is aging and his speed may be going. And except for 2012 with the San Jose Earthquakes, when he notched 13 assists, he's never been very productive offensively. He's a veteran, but he may be on the outside looking in for the Dispersal Draft.
Donny Toia, D: Came back to MLS in 2014 as a fullback and ended up becoming a starter by midseason. Still has learning to do, but he's young and was one of the big surprises of CUSA's season. I don't think he'd be a starter at very many MLS teams, but there's probably room for him somewhere on an MLS roster.
Ryan Finley, F: Is a hustler, but hasn't shown much chemistry with strike partners at two different teams, albeit in limited minutes. His reported attitude problem upon being sent to the Columbus Crew's USL PRO affiliate on loan before the trade to Chivas midseason may not help his cause around MLS, though he was well-regarded at Notre Dame.
Kristopher Tyrpak, F: Tyrpak's tricky, because he barely played, but in 156 minutes, all off the bench, he scored a goal and contributed an assist. He's an unknown quantity in MLS to a great extent, but I could see a team picking him as a project, and sending him on loan to USL PRO to find his level.
Matthew Dunn, M: My gut says Dunn won't get picked and will go to USL PRO, but I think there's a chance the European pedigree and youth scouting network convinces one team to take a shot on him.
SEE YOU IN USL PRO:
Michael Nwiloh, D: Never saw competitive action, but he survived the full season on the CUSA roster, which is almost an accomplishment in itself. With USL PRO expanding, he'll definitely get some offers there.
Trevor Spangenberg, GK: There is a glut of quality 'keepers in MLS already, with a new draft class coming up (and the Philadelphia Union inexplicably hoarding starting-quality GKs on their own). Spangenberg did get some game action, but not much, and in his limited action he didn't literally stand on his head. He'll likely find a new team in USL PRO.
Oswaldo Minda, M: Is out of contract in December, so is he even eligible for this draft? And if he is, will there be a market for him? He's a pure destroyer, but there are teams in MLS that could certainly use his skill. But the first question is whether the midfielder will even be involved.
Felix Borja, F: Seemed open to staying in MLS following the last game, but is on loan from LDU Quito. He scored three goals in his last four games, so may have caught some eyes around the league, and his experience and prodigious jumping ability could prove useful. But his option would have to be picked up, and it's unknown if he's going to be eligible for the Dispersal Draft.
Luis Bolaños, F: Also on loan from LDU Quito, but he barely got on the field for Chivas, so don't expect him to be back in MLS.
Leandro Barrera, M/F: Another on-loaner, from Argentinos Juniors, and he's an interesting case. He played a lot, showed he could do some winger tasks very well, and showed he has a lot of work to do in the crossing and finishing departments. My inclination is that he won't be back in MLS next year, but there could be a coach out there willing to work on polishing the diamond in the rough up.
Martin Rivero, M: He has a lot of talent, but can't stay healthy, as he tore his ACL after finally getting into fitness this season. I could see a team picking him and then maybe stashing him on IR, but I could just as likely see him go back to South America with MLS scouts watching to see if he can get a string of games together.
Akira Kaji, D: Is pretty old for a non-star newcomer to MLS (34), but he actually played well for the Goats and was one of the team's nominees for Defender of the Year on the MLS awards ballot (not that he'll win, it's just an example). Started 14 of the team's final 15 games, and looked pretty solid at right back during his half-season with the team.
Agustin Pelletieri, M: Reportedly resisted offers to return to Argentina midseason, so he presumably has demand to go back to his own domestic league, though he was fine with Chivas. Steady, though never really spectacular, even in a dirty job like defensive midfield, his leadership could be an asset, but he may also have little market value in MLS.
Tony Lochhead, D: Started the season well enough, but injuries and Toia's emergence meant he was on the bench down the homestretch. It's possible he could find another home in MLS, but this could be the end of the line for the Kiwi.
PROBABLY WON'T BE IN DISPERSAL DRAFT:
Erick Torres, F: If he stays in MLS next season, Cubo, the unquestionable No. 1 for this draft had he been involved, will be exempt and will be allocated to another MLS team in a different, special way.
DEFINITELY WON'T BE IN DISPERSAL DRAFT:
Eric Avila, M: He is in the process of being sold to Liga MX side Santos Laguna.
Carlos Bocanegra, D: Retired.
Eriq Zavaleta, D: Was on loan this season from the Seattle Sounders, so he'll be going back to his parent club.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!