Saturday, April 29, 2017

Top 5 MLS Trade Chips

Even though it's still early in the season, there are clearly some valuable guys spending a whole lot of time on the bench. I'm sure their teams aren't exactly eager to deal them away and depth will surely be tested at some point this year, but sometimes these guys can be used to shore up other places in the roster.

Whether a deal will happen or not, they still count as handsome bargaining assets. And there are likely opposing MLS GM's who have eyes for these guys.

#5 - Arturo Álvarez - Chicago
The veteran attacker started the season in the line-up, but has been nudged to the pine for most of the last six weeks. Meanwhile, the Fire offense has clicked fairly well. The 31-year-old put up career bests with five goals and nine helpers upon his return to MLS last year, so he would seem to have plenty left in the tank.

Who might want him: The LA Galaxy would love for somebody, anybody, to run savvy combo play with Gio dos Santos.

#4 - Andrew Wenger - Houston
The Dynamo are silly with forwards these days, a fact that has limited Wenger to 119 minutes so far this term. He's a guy who has notched six goals with at least a few assist in two of the last three seasons, can work from the flank and in an emergency pinch can even play in defense.

Who might want him: Orlando City may be atop the East right now, but they aren't scoring tons of goals and at some point will want someone to A) give Cyle Larin a breather and/or B) provide some sort of wing impact for their brand of direct attack play.

#3 - Marco Bustos - Vancouver
Yeah, I'm quite sure the Whitecaps won't be shopping the 21-year-old Canada playmaker around anytime soon. But sheesh, he is just sitting around (and yes, I know he missed a few games through injury earlier this month). I find it hard to believe a slick passer can't find any time in Vancouver, but then they also recently decided a certain scary winger was loose baggage.

Who might want him: Montreal would love to get their hands on a central midfielder with ideas under the age of Methuselah to allow Patrice Bernier some rest without starving the attack.

#2 - Saad Abdul-Salaam Sporting KC
Some folks, including my MLSS colleague Matt Doyle, felt that Abdul-Salaam was of Best XI-caliber last season. I agree with them. And yet, Peter Vermes has seen fit to shift Graham Zusi back to take his place. I didn't get it then, and even though the defense has shined bright, I still think this move has harmed the team's attack. Meanwhile, a strong 25-year-old two-way right back has received all of one minute in seven games this season.

Who might want him: Chicago is crying out for a top-shelf starter at his position, and his arrival would allow Michael Harrington to become the suitable back-up at both fullback slots.

#1 - Kekuta Manneh - Columbus
Oh, I know he just came over in a trade, but the Crew do not seem in a hurry to get him on the field. Justin Meram is killing it and rookie Niko Hansen is now even getting starts ahead of Ethan Finlay (who could easily hold down this spot instead). Something will need to give in this situation at some point. Manneh is simply to good to be left out of 18's, which happened last weekend.

Who might want him: The NY Red Bulls might just jump at the chance. They haven't been satisfied with Daniel Royer's production, Mike Grella is on the shelf and I'm not convinced they think Alex Muyl is regular starting material. Besides, breakout speed like Manneh's is always welcome when you have BWP waiting for finishes.

- Greg Seltzer

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