News broke on Tuesday that former Hermann Trophy winner and Wake Forest standout Marcus Tracy reached a contract agreement with Major League Soccer. Because Tracy was originally drafted in 2009 by the Houston Dynamo, Tracy's entry into the league will handled via weighted lottery, the same way that Lee Nguyen and Kamani Hill's was. Why is this relevant? Well, because the New England Revolution are interested in participating in this lottery, according to team sources.
Tracy is a guy who elected to forego MLS and signed a contract with Aalborg in Denmark out of college, but saw what looked to be a promising career stutter and stop due to persistent knee injuries. He was released over the 2011-2012 Winter break and has been training with the Philadelphia Union recently ahead of his move to the States.
Coming out of Wake Forest, Tracy was a tremendous athlete and scoring talent. From what I've been able to dig up on his college career and the beginnings of his pro career, plus the little highlight action I've seen on Youtube, he was pretty fast and had incredible ups. In 2009, a decent start with Aalborg and all of this promise earned him a call-up to the full United States National Team. Unfortunately, he had to withdraw from camp due to the knee tendonitis that has plagued him ever since.
Tracy's a gamble, no question about it. Reports indicate that he's finally healthy again, but three years of battling tendonitis leaves no one with any viable guarantee of his health, or that he still has the quickness and jumping ability that made him such a formidable threat in the box.
Discussion of the risks and rewards for acquiring Tracy means nothing if the Revs don't have a legitimate chance of landing him through the lottery. According to league rules, the lottery works like this: teams declare whether or not they want to participate. Then, odds are assigned to each team based on their records over the last 34 matches; the teams with worse records have the best chances. Lots/numbers/whatever get drawn, and BAM! A player has a team.
Clubs have until the end of the day on Wednesday to decide whether or not they're in for Tracy, so we can't accurately predict the lottery weights until then. We can, however, give you an idea of where each club stands. Assuming that the teams are arranged in terms of points earned over the last 34 matches, and remembering that Vancouver and Colorado are out, the order looks a little something like this:
1. New England Revolution: 7-19-7 28 points
2. Toronto FC: 6-18-10 28 points
3. Chivas USA: 8-17-9 33 points
4. Portland Timbers: 9-16-9 36 points
5. Philadelphia Union: 10-16-8 38 points
6. FC Dallas: 10-15-9 39 points
7. D.C. United: 13-15-6 45 points
8. Columbus Crew: 14-14-6 48 points
9. Real Salt Lake: 15-13-6 51 points
10. New York Red Bulls: 16-10-8 56 points
11. LA Galaxy: 18-12-4 57 points
12. Chicago Fire: 18-10-6 60 points
13. Houston Dynamo: 17-8-9 60 points
14. Seattle Sounders: 18-8-8 62 points
15. San Jose Earthquakes: 18-8-8 62 points
16. Sporting Kansas City: 20-8-6 66 points
I'm not sure how tie-breakers work here, but the Revs are looking to have either the best or the second-best chance to get Tracy in this race. With only 28 points in their last 34 matches, the Revs and TFC are tied as the most futile teams in MLS. Hooray.
The wildcard, though, is Montreal. Obviously, the Montreal Impact haven't played 34 games yet. I requested clarification from MLS on how this will be handled, but haven't yet received it given that the MLS contact I went to is apparently in Columbus for meetings.
Montreal has played 29 matches so far, earning a 12-14-3 record with 39 points. Taking that as-is would place them right with Dallas in a tie for 6th-highest chances in the lottery. If MLS elects to go by points per match, Montreal has earned about 1.34 PPM, which is still far, far ahead of New England's paltry 0.82. Even if MLS decides to slap five losses onto Montreal's record to make up the games, the Revs still have a much higher chance of winning the lottery than the Impact based either on points or ppm.
Of course, MLS could just give Montreal the highest probability because they're the expansion team. That would be a big blow to the Revs, and not exactly fair, since Montreal is already doing better than New England anyway. If an answer on this is forthcoming, we'll let you know.
So that's a quick breakdown of the Revolution's chances of getting Marcus Tracy in this weighted lottery. Do you think the Revs should be in for him? Let us know in the comments!