2009 Expansion Draft Preview - Western Conference
|Part two of the expansion draft preview. The Eastern conference was covered yesterday, and can be found here.|
If this list of players seems larger than normal to you, then you're right. Chivas currently have an astounding 31 players on their roster, 7 more than the limit of 24. That's due to the large number of injured players on the disabled list: Curtin, Harmse, Kennedy, Razov, Suarez, Vaughn, and Zamora. I believe that's the current list.
Despite the large roster, they don't have too many obvious candidates to protect. Curtin, Flores, Razov, Talley, Vaughn, and Victorine all weren't protected last year, and likely won't be again. Thornton wasn't protected last year as well, but he's played well in 2009 and is cheap, so he might be one of the 11 this time.
Burling and Lahoud are the guys on the bubble. The former has missed most of the season, but he was protected last year and Preki obviously likes him. Lahoud probably has a better chance of being picked than most of the older vets, so he's a good candidate. However, I'm thinking Chijindu may pass one of them up by season's end if he hasn't already.
Padilla or any of the other loan signings are unlikely to be protected or chosen, like Marco Pappa last year.
Most likely picks: Chijindu, Curtin, Razov
Curtin is from the Philly area and played with Peter Nowak in Chicago. Perfect fit? What are the odds he takes somebody from Chivas who didn't play for the Fire? Razov's contract is much cheaper than last year's (140k, previously 255k), so that makes him both more likely to be taken and protected.
One of the easiest teams to sort out.
With a full lineup, Noonan isn't a starter for the Rapids and seems on course to be exposed in the draft. Peterson's going to get more playing time with Clark's season ending injury, but he's behind him in the pecking order. Kimura, meanwhile, isn't a sure starter in every match like Harvey on the left side. He was unprotected a year ago and should lose out to his fellow defenders Gibbs, Ihemelu, and the aforementioned Harvey.
Most likely picks: Kimura, Noonan, Peterson
One bit of good news for Dallas this season: the large number of Generation Adidas players means that they don't have to worry about losing any of their young guys. Six GAs on the roster currently, and none have even an outside shot to graduate.
The three internationals: I went with Benitez, Ferreira, and Ricchetti. Chavez is really the only other option. Rocha and Sanchez are going nowhere, while Harris, Sala, and van den Bergh all hold green cards. Chavez might end up overtaking Ferreira, though both are on loans and shouldn't be picked either way.
Would an older veteran like Cunningham or Sala really be selected by the Union? I don't think they can take that chance, so it looks like Wagner's unprotected. He's had four years to grab a full time starting role, and hasn't.
Most likely picks: Burse, Purdy, Wagner
Some good players up for grabs here. The Dynamo's protected list is pretty predictable. Like last year, Ashe/Barrett/Mulrooney/Onstad are set to be left out.
One year ago, Houston was forced to protect Guy-Roland Kpene due to the rules regarding foreign players even though they immediately waived him afterwards. It didn't affect anything because of the agreement with the Sounders to let them get Nate Jaqua, but it's always fascinating to see teams protect players whom they obviously wouldn't otherwise. RSL protected Cameron Knowles in the same fashion after the 2006 season.
This year, Houston only has three internationals (Kamara holds a green card), so they only are required to protect two. Hainault and Landin are the obvious choices. However, I'm betting Oduro will be on the list as well, which means that Robinson will be exposed. The defense is once again the best in the league this year without him, and he might not even get on the field before the season ends. Also, they gave up a lot for Oduro which means that they value him pretty highly.
Most likely picks: Ashe, Robinson, Weaver
Gonzalez is a full time starter and will graduate from GA. DeLaGarza has also become a starter and can't be left off. It's the vets who are most expendable. Klein was unprotected last season, and he should be joined by Berhalter, Kovalenko, and Lewis. Due to the former Chicago and DC connections, Kovalenko is the only one who seems like a possible Philadelphia/Nowak selection.
Gordon and Jordan were protected a year ago, but then again so were Troy Roberts and Alvaro Pires (another amusing "required international"). It seems highly unlikely that they'd be protected again. Eskandarian and Magee are more valuable.
Most likely picks: Gordon, Jordan, Kovalenko
REAL SALT LAKE
Campos holds a green card, and they seem pretty high on him. Like Houston and Oduro, they gave up a couple of draft picks for him. Mathis and Williams weren't protected last year and shouldn't be again. Meanwhile, Movsisyan is already leaving the league.
The only questions here are:
The third international after Morales and Olave? Might be Gonzalez over El Khalifi and Espindola due to his age and the comments from the RSL people about how he's more a player for the future.
Russell left out? Beltran probably will graduate from GA status. If he does, then Russell seemingly is the odd man out.
Most likely picks: Alexandre, Grabavoy, Russell
I'm not sure I see any likely picks here.
Again, there's a big GA question. I think Zakuani should graduate. He probably takes a spot away from one of the young, lackluster defenders: Ianni or Sturgis.
Not much else to discuss. Keller, at his age (39) and and his salary ($300,000), is off limits. Marshall is also old and has a higher salary (~150k). Even though Sigi Schmid is a big fan, he also should be exposed.
Unfortunately, Riley won't get a chance to be selected for a third straight expansion draft. Now that he's found a home in the league, he can sleep comfortably in his oxygen tent.
BTW, that's a great article. It's from two years ago, and while getting the link I couldn't help but notice Brian Ching is mentioned as one of the athletes who has "tried sleeping at simulated altitude." A lot of good that did him in Mexico!
Most likely picks: Ianni, King, Sturgis
Despite the disappointment and high salary, Convey should still be protected. First, Huckerby's contract is up and he might not be back, so they could use him. Second, he obviously has talent despite the poor season. Maybe it'll take him a year to adjust like with Reading? Finally, letting him go to his hometown of Philadelphia is too perfect of a situation to just let happen for free. Even if the Quakes don't want him back, I'm sure they can get something of value via a trade.
Hmm. That makes me second guess leaving Justin Mapp off the Fire's list yesterday. Anyway, Glen is a lock to be one of the foreign players protected. They'll need two of the other four: Luiz/Ribeiro/Sanchez/Silva.
How high are they on Wondolowski and Zaher? Probably not as high as they are on Amarikwa and McDonald, so I have them getting exposed. Leitch is a journeyman who will always get time but is never worth too much, like Eric Denton whom they've already parted ways with.
Most likely picks: Pitchkolan, Wondolowski, Zaher
Labels: expansion draft