Ah, the road ahead…
There are two new teams entering the league next season, the
These two new teams participated in a 10 round draft where they picked unprotected players off of other teams. Each current MLS team could protect eleven players currently on their rosters. Once a player has been selected from a club’s unprotected roster, one more unprotected player can be shifted to the protected side. A maximum of two players may be selected from any one current MLS team.
Since Conrad was on the unprotected side of the fence, either Portland or Vancouver could have selected him. Neither team did. (The only SKC player taken was Jonathan Leathers, a promising and athletic young defender. Sad to see him go.) Which begs the question: What now is the fate of Jimmy Conrad? Are his Kansas City days over?
Last season he was demoted from team captain to just another player. While he has been a frequent MLS All-Star and named to the Best XI squad, along with appearing for the U.S. Men’s National Team, last season was not a great one for Jimmy. A few uncharacteristic mistakes led directly to crucial goals, and at times the defense as a whole seemed out of sorts, giving up numerous soft goals against the run of play.
Granted, there was a shuffling lineup of central defenders playing alongside Conrad, including the infamous Pablo Escobar Experience. As the last man back, the man in the middle of the defense, communication is all important; when the guy playing next to you changes week to week, a learning curve is to be expected.
Things shored up significantly with the mid-season acquisition of Shavar Thomas (who was also left unprotected), and the outside backs both seem solid looking to the future (Michael Harrington and Roger Espinoza).
But is this enough to get Jimmy a nice new contract?
With the addition of a quicker, physical center back, Jimmy is still viable for SKC.
Still this organization has made no bones about the fact that the old Wizards are dead, and SKC is looking for a fresh start, with a fresh stadium, and a fresh new brand with fresh new uniforms.
Interesting then, that when the Big Announcement was made at P& L a couple weeks ago, Conrad was there, alongside Mexican star and future Wiz… er, SKC player Omar Bravo, smiling for the cameras and modeling the team’s new duds.
Glimpse into the future or savvy PR move? We shall see.