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Report: MLS announces Dispersal Draft plans; envelope manufacturers rejoice

Breaking up Chivas USA was always going to be hard to do, but MLS has found a way to modify the complexity: more envelopes.

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Regardless of the outcome of the Eastern Conference semifinal, there shall be no rest for the New York Red Bulls next week - at least, no rest for the front office.

MLS has announced its plans for divvying up the remains of Chivas USA - its long-forlorn, now eternally-lamented, least-functional franchise.

The primary consequence of the decision to stop trying to revive LA's second club is the need to find new homes for its former players. Some, of course, will make their way to clubs outside the league, some may fall to one of MLS's many other forms of draft (Re-Entry and Waiver being the alternate flavors for this particular group), but a few will presumably be snapped up right away in the Dispersal Draft.

What is a Dispersal Draft? Well, since the league holds all the contracts for all its players, it's largely MLS's first attempt to avoid a massive buy-out for almost an entire squad of employees who no longer have a place to work.

It's also a handy opportunity for the remaining clubs to pick up tried-and-tested talent, though they will have to pay full price for that talent if they make a move in this particular draft: MLS has stated any players selected in the Dispersal Draft must be taken on the terms of their 2015 contract.

Our colleagues at the Goat Parade have provided a handy guide to the players on offer - which will not include Erick Torres, the team's most prized asset with whom the league is hoping to reach an agreement (likely at a team pretty much of his choosing) by "mid-December".

The Dispersal Draft will take place on November 19, four days before the Conference finals. It will include next year's incoming teams, Orlando City SC and New York City FC.

But the best news about this draft is the description of the manner in which the league will decide the selection order for 20 teams whose collective interest in the players on offer is likely diminish sharply after the first four or five picks (this is the squad which scored the fewest goals in MLS 2014 and conceded second-most - 29 and 61, respectively).

On November 14, MLS will hold a "random weighted draw" to determine the draft order. Sounds promising.

The draw will be conducted by "the envelope method". Huh? This sounds like the worst idea for a contraceptive since the "potato method".

Not so, apparently: the league explains its "envelope method" involves handing two envelopes to each of this season's non-playoff teams (including OCSC and NYCFC) and one envelope to each of this year's playoff teams. And then those envelopes will be swizzled around like car keys in a bowl at one of those parties your parents will swear they never attended, and the random selecting shall commence.

Say what you like about MLS, it is single-handedly doing its bit to keep the American envelope industry going as it seeks to steady itself during the continuing decline of the postal service.

This season alone, we have seen Jermaine Jones's career bundled into an envelope and raffled off to New England. NYCFC and OCSC used envelopes to kick off the process of determining their respective positions in MLS's upcoming draft jamboree (Expansion, Super, Waiver, Re-Entry...probably one or two I've missed along the way as well).

But those were shabby efforts to shoehorn the envelope into the traditional role of the coin: picking between two options.

Now the league is so confident, it is ratcheting up its faith in stationery-based selection processes: effortlessly graduating from mere 50/50 decisions to trusting the humble envelope with a 20-team Dispersal Draft position allocation.

You've come a long way in 20 years, MLS. And it's comforting to see you kept the office supplies well stocked the whole time.