Expansion Draft 2009 - Final Protected Lists Preview
|Time to revisit my projections for the last time. Who will be available for the Philadelphia Union to select? The rules were announced recently, and they're exactly the same as the past few drafts.|
The following players should graduate from Generation Adidas status: Alston, Beltran, Frei, Gonzalez, Hall, Nyarko, Wallace, Zakuani, and Zayner. I would be extremely shocked if any of them didn't graduate, or if any other GA players did. See this post for further info on how minutes played affects GA status and graduation.
I'll also be updating the Wikipedia article on the 2009 MLS Expansion Draft. What normally happens is, MLS only releases the lists of exposed players. So you have to do a little work to figure out who actually was protected, including figuring out GA statuses. So next week I'll be updating that page for everyone's convenience.
I'll be sure to post my predictions for who will be selected by Peter Nowak and Philly when the lists are final.
In the following post, "changes" refers to how my projections have changed since the last time I posted them.
Changes: Lowry for Blanco.
I feel extremely confident on 8 of these players. The other three are Lowry, Pappa, and Segares.
Lowry should be protected because of his potential and low salary (developmental player). Segares is out of contract, but he's not a lock to leave and he's a highly valuable player. I still think he merits protection. That's not unprecedented, NE did it with Parkhurst last year.
Pappa is complicated because of his loan situation, which is up after the season. It seems likely that he'll be back though, and if so he's an important member of the team. The Fire will have to protect at least one of either Pappa or Segares, and he's probably more likely.
I still think there's actually a chance Mapp could be protected despite the high salary. He was a Best XI player only a few years ago, though I suppose the cheap Woolard might be a smarter choice.
Changes: Cuesta/Flores/Padilla for Braun/Lillingston/Trujillo.
The biggest change is Preki leaving. Who knows how that will affect the Chivas list, which was already one of the hardest teams to predict. I feel Bornstein/Galindo/Kljestan/Lahoud/Thornton are locks.
They also need three international players, which is complicated by the fact that Galindo/Jazic/Saragosa/Trujillo all hold green cards and that Padilla is an American. So they must protect at least three out of Cuesta/Harmse/Lillingston/Nagamura/Santos/Stepanovic/Thomas. That's even messier when you realize that Nagamura is out of contract and Cuesta/Santos are on loans. I'd say Nagamura probably still deserves protection, and Thomas might be the best bet of the group. I'll go out on a limb and pick Cuesta as the third international despite the loan, since he started in the playoffs and he's only 20.
Who gets the last three spots? Padilla will probably play a bigger role next year, and Flores has potential (even though he wasn't protected a year ago). Marsch has been a key player for the team despite his age. It might be wise to to protect him because of the former Fire connection with Nowak.
This does leave off a couple of notable players. Braun is a decent bet to end up on a the list, but he was a Preki signing and he hasn't exactly lit up the back of net.
Changes: Kimura for Smith.
I've been following what Jason of View From The Couch is projecting, so as a result I've included Kimura. However, I just can't put Baudet or Smith in the eleven. They both make over $150,000 and were brought in by Gary Smith, which means that the odds of either being selected are virtually zero.
Jason also excludes Gibbs, which I can't agree with no matter what Gary Smith thinks of Cory. Even if they're plan on going into 2010 without him, he could bring something in a trade. Palguta or Peterson could have an outside shot at making the list, too.
Changes: Gaven/Zayner for Hejduk/Moreno.
After the playoffs and the Denmark game, does anybody still want Hejduk to be protected? I've been reading the Crew forum on Bigsoccer, and they certainly don't. Zayner is much more likely to be selected by Philadelphia.
Gaven was left off the list last season, but he's played well and could be selected despite his $173,250 salary. He belongs in the eleven this year. Lenhart and Moreno split time up top, so be leaving both off they'll still have at least one next year.
Lenhart is probably the last man left off. If they're higher on him than Zayner, then they could make that switch.
Changes: Chavez/Sala for Ricchetti/van den Bergh.
Ricchetti burned his bridges and is gone.
Buzz at 3rd Degree suggests Harris over van den Bergh for the final spot, so I've made that change as well. VDB's inclusion is the only possible change I could see.
Changes: Burch/Khumalo for Fred/Moreno.
With Olsen's retirement and Soehn's departure, it seems like change is in the air at DC United. If you're going to leave off Emilio and Gomez, then you might as well leave off Fred and Moreno as well. Khumalo is included because of the need for three internationals.
The issue here could be "no trade" clauses. If designated player Emilio were to have one, for example, then he would take away a domestic player spot (as a green card holder).
Changes: Chabala/Weaver for Clark/Landin.
Clark is leaving on a free transfer and Landin was a huge disappointment. Based on their playing time down the stretch, Chabala and Weaver seem next in line and they're both cheap. Barrett/Mulrooney/Onstad were already left unprotected a year ago, so I'd expect that to happen again.
Holden's out of contract too, but you could at least picture him staying (or maybe not). If I were Nowak and Holden were unprotected, I'd take him. Why not take that chance even if it's really slim?
Changes: Hartman for Watson.
Seems pretty cut and dry. Down the Byline suggests Zusi instead of Wolff. Could he or Watson make the list instead of an older player?
Changes: Berhalter/Kovalenko for Dunivant/Eskandarian.
Bruce Arena protected Kovalenko back in 2006 when he was with NY, so I now expect the same thing to happen again. Along with Kovalenko, Berhalter has been huge down the strech and he seems a more likely choice than Dunivant, who can be replaced by DeLaGarza.
Larentowicz is out of contract, but as I mentioned above, they still protected Parkhurst last year. The big question is whether or not they'll protect Twellman. He's been injured for over a year and has one of the league's highest salaries. I think that it's still the smart move to do so. Kheli Dube (likely the 12th man in the pecking order) is clearly not on the same level even at his best.
Changes: Boundoul/Johnson for Celades/Cepero.
Boundoul won the starting keeper job down the stretch, while Celades announced his retirement. Without Celades, they'll need to protect another foreign player, so I selected Johnson over Rojas.
REAL SALT LAKE
Changes: Russell for Campos.
10 players are stone cold locks. Russell is the exception. Will it be him, Campos, Grabavoy or maybe Alexandre who completes the list? We'll see what Kreis is thinking. Russell was protected a year ago so I think that tilts it in his favor.
Changes: Wondolowski for McDonald.
As I've said before, no matter how much some people want Convey out of SJ and think he would be a perfect fit, I don't think he'll be unprotected. He has too much talent, it's too perfect of a scenario with the Philly hometown kid coming home, and also he holds value in a trade if they go that route.
I suppose Le Toux, Levesque, and Nyassi have an outside chance, possibly at the expense of Riley.
What was a nightmare to project when I first did this back in August now seems easy. The high-priced Guevara/Robinson/Vitti should be unselectable and easy to exclude. Meanwhile, Garcia played his way off.