The Columbus Crew selected defender Carlos Mendes from the New York Red Bulls in the first round of the 2011 MLS Re-Entry Draft on Monday. The Crew used their ninth pick to select the native of New York.
Only three players total were selected on Monday. The New England Revolution selected defender Danleigh Borman from Toronto FC with the second pick and Chivas USA selected midfielder Arturo Alvarez from Real Salt Lake with the fourth pick. Every team had the option to select someone who was available, but most decided to pass.
Mendes spent the past seven years with New York, making 128 starts in MLS during that time. Last year, Mendes appeared in 18 games, starting 16 of them. The Red Bulls declined his contract option at the end of this season, leading some people to question the decision.
With Chad Marshall’s concussion issues and Julius James’ offseason shoulder surgery, Mendes, 32 years old, may find himself in the starting lineup as early as the first game of the season. He can provide coverage all across the back line, giving the Crew a more veteran presence to fill in when needed. During his time in New York, Mendes played with current Crew players Eddie Gaven (2005), Danny O’Rourke (2006), and Tony Tchani (2010-2011).
One of the disadvantages of selecting someone in the first round of the Re-Entry Draft is that the players’ contracts who are selected are non-negotiable. Mendes made roughly $100,000 last year. The Crew will be paying him the same amount in 2012.
Columbus had two players from last year’s roster available in the draft. However, Jeff Cunningham and Kevin Burns were both not selected. They will still be available in the second round, where players’ contracts can be negotiated, on December 12th.