2009 Expansion Draft Preview - Eastern Conference
|Who will Peter Nowak and the Philadelphia Union take? Who will each team protect? I don't know, but I'll give it my best guess three months before everyone really starts focusing on it. You remember the rules, don't you? I'm assuming they'll stay the same as the past three years: 11 players can be protected, must protect three foreigners, GA players are exempt.|
The Fire will certainly have an interesting offseason. There's a good chance that many of this year's starters won't be back. Blanco has already said that he won't be, and we know Prideaux is retiring. Will McBride retire? He says he won't make a decision to until December. I doubt he would play for any other team anyway, so he can be left unprotected. Who knows if Conde will stick around or be transferred, and Segares is another guy who could be gone, as his contract expires following the year. Both are still worth protecting, though.
Mapp's salary ($220,000/$255,000) makes him unlikely to be picked, but there's always a chance he could be protected instead of Robinson or Thorrington. Maybe even Pappa, who was unprotected last year possibly due to the loan arrangement. I don't know if he deserves it based on his play. Every year a few guys surprise everybody when they're left unprotected, and it's usually because of salary reasons. Mapp could be one of those this year.
If the "feud" is settled or a transfer doesn't materialize, Soumare will be one of the 11 for sure. If he stays through the season en route to a January transfer, he's probably still worth keeping just for the transfer fee (and allocation money). Now that would interesting, seeing a team pick someone just for the money. Anyway, if Soumare is protected, I guess Thorrington would then be unprotected. I believe Robinson is ahead of Thorrington on the pecking order because they'll need a defender next year with all the departures.
Most likely picks: Carr, Mapp, Woolard
Woolard plays LB and could be taken as a cheap option there.
The Zolos are going to get somebody good here, that's for sure. First off, let's look at the international players. I have them protecting Schelotto, Ekpo, and Padula, just like last year. Padula would be the most likely of the three to drop out, it seems. Remember, they have to protect at least three, and Moreno doesn't count as he holds a green card.
Speaking of Moreno, it seems like he might not make the list this year. He doesn't have a huge salary ($132,300/$137,300), but they have a couple of cheap, talented younger guys in Garey and Lenhart. Another guy who would make sense to leave off (at least on paper) is Hejduk, but that's highly unlikely. Still, will they protect both him and Zayner? You have to figure Zayner's likely gone if they don't protect him.
Iro was protected last year, but he's been passed up by Brunner. However, Iro is an international player and therefore might be in competition with Padula.
Gaven wasn't protected last year and it would shock me to see him protected this year. Like Mapp, his salary makes him unlikely to be chosen.
Most likely picks: Garey, Iro, Lenhart
Which older vets do they protect and which do they leave exposed? Moreno is a DC legend; you can't leave him off. However, Fred and Olsen are easy choices due to the great play of Wallace and the signing of Szetela. Gomez is high in salary and probably wouldn't be picked anyway.
You need a third international player after Emilio and Jakovic, so I went with James over Fred and Gomez. He's young, cheap, and has potential. I wonder if they took his status into account when they made the trade? It's too bad Wallace has a green card. BTW, Wallace should graduate from GA since he's already started 18 games.
Wicks looks pretty certain to be protected, which is pretty surprising after being waived by the Galaxy. He seems to have brought some stability to the position.
Burch, McTavish, and Simms all have been protected for the last two drafts, but something is probably going to give here. Simms is much more expensive than the other two, but I think he's also a much more important part of the team.
Most likely picks: Burch, McTavish, Olsen
Would Nowak pick one of the 2004 heroes, Gomez or Olsen? Probably not, though Olsen is from Pennsylvania.
The big question is whether or not Espinoza will graduate from GA? It's definitely borderline. He played 22 games last season, starting 12 and he's played 13, starting 6 this year. If he starts the rest of the season, which is likely considering that they're virtually out of the running, then he will. I think it's more likely that he will graduate than he won't. Playing for Honduras in the Gold Cup can't hurt.
Like last year, the Wizards are set to
I don't expect Hartman to be protected since he wasn't last year. It seems like 10/11 of the picks are pretty solid. I'm guessing Hohlbein is the last guy. Seems like forwards Cristman and Thompson are likely to be exposed. They could take Watson over him, or maybe Gomez. I suppose Wolff's a candidate to be left off due to age and salary.
Most likely picks: Gomez, McKenzie, Watson
The emergence of Alston means Albright is a lock to be exposed. It's hard to believe it's even a possibility, but you have to wonder if Twellman will be exposed as well. He makes around $400,000 and has now struggled with injuries for two straight seasons.
The internationals. The Gambian duo of Mansally/Nyassi were protected last year and likely will be again. Who's the most best pick for the third spot: Dube, Jankauskas, or Osei? The Lithuanian striker probably makes decent money, so he may be the least likely. Dube may only be in his second season, but he was an old rookie and is already 26. Will he really get any better?
Most likely picks: Dube, Tierney, Videira
How many of these guys will even be on the roster next year? At least they won't lose anybody good, if Philly even decides to use a pick here.
Most of these choices pick themselves. You could argue Coundoul over Cepero, or Ubiparipovic over Zimmerman. That's about it. Maybe a different set of internationals. If Hall doesn't graduate from GA, then there's another open spot.
Most likely picks: Borman, Mendes, Ubiparipovic
One of the harder Eastern conference teams to predict IMO. The kids impressed against DC, does that mean they're worth protecting? Garcia/Serioux or Gomez/Sanyang? Hmm... When players get scouted in Africa and brought in here by Toronto, that makes you think that another coach wouldn't take them in the draft, so maybe they don't need it this year.
There are plenty of large salaries who could be safely exposed: Guevara, Robinson, and Vitti all make around $300,000. Dichio's near the end of his career and he should be left exposed as well. If it comes down to Gerba or White, the latter seems like the better choice for almost much every reason: salary, potential, likelihood of being selected.
Toronto seems like one of the teams who won't lose a player.
Most likely picks: Attakora, Gomez, Sanyang
Labels: expansion draft