2010 MLS Expansion Draft - Preview
|Time to start thinking about this once again. This year it's a bit more complicated as two teams will be making selections, but I don't expect the number of protected players (11) to change. Especially since that same number was recently referenced after Portland was announced as picking first on MLSsoccer.com. Whether or not teams will be able to protect an additional player after losing one like in 2004 remains unknown.|
Before I get into each team's likely 11, it's important to understand a few things about the draft:
Below are my current picks for each team's 11. Players in bold are the ones I consider to be virtual locks to be protected.
As I talked about in the GA article above, rookie goalkeepers always seem to be given a second year of protected status. So like Stephen Frei a year ago, Johnson should remain GA for 2011 and the Fire shouldn't have to worry about that.
There's no reason to protect McBride and his $400k salary, unless he has some sort of no-trade clause. Thorrington has been protected for the past two years, but being injured and costing 200k should mean he's unlikely to be taken. The two DPs may be unlikely selections, but it's hard to leave them off. We'll probably know more about Ljungberg's intentions by the season's end.
C.J. Brown is unlikely to leave Chicago, and he's rumored to retire every year. That's why Watson-Siribie is there ahead of him. Carr could easily be usurped by John depending on how the rest of the season goes.
Zizzo didn't sign a GA contract, did he? I didn't see anything to say that he did, like some players who are assigned through weighted lotteries.
As always, Chivas is a really hard team to predict due to the lack of media attention and the large number of new foreign players they bring in every year. No less than 5 Chivas players have green cards, and Padilla is an American. The international players are: Cuesta/Delgado/Espinoza/Maldonado/Nagamura/Romero/Umana.
Bornstein's departure means he can be left unprotected. If the expansion teams are smart, they'll take him anyway (like Philadelphia should've done with Segares).
Pretty easy to predict for the most part. It's between Smith and Ballouchy for the third international spot (Kimura doesn't count). Amarikwa or Thompson could make an run at the eleven. Some Rapids fans have suggested than Clark could be left unprotected. Will the back to back season ending injuries cause the Rapids to lose a little confidence in him? We'll see.
Here we have several likely candidates for Portland's first selection. A lot to discuss here.
Hejduk wasn't protected a year ago, so that should happen again. Meanwhile, it seems like they might only have room for one of Brunner and Iro. Francis has grabbed the left back position, and is a minimum salary rookie. No question he's protected.
So why did I leave Schelotto off? Given his legend-like status with the team, I wouldn't bet against him being protected. However, I feel like he's highly unlikely to be taken. Not because he can't contribute any more, or that he might retire rather than leave the Crew. A team could always pull a Mo Johnston and take him (like Toronto did with Jason Kreis). The thing is, there's several really good choices on the Crew already that make me believe he wouldn't be selected. Toronto only got a partial allocation in return for Kreis; getting Brunner or Rogers is better than that.
I haven't even mentioned the international quotas yet. Ekpo already holds a green card, while Iro and Schelotto are reportedly very close to receiving theirs, making them count as domestic. If that happens before the end of the year, then the three protected internationals should be Francis/Moffat/Renteria. The only other choices are Griffit/Mendoza.
Dallas only has a few foreign choices. After Benitez/Ferreira, they'll have to protect one of Chavez/Jackson/Rodriguez (or Guarda if he graduates).
Cunningham makes over 200k, and he hasn't been starting. I can't see him taking anyone's place. Alexander or Loyd are probably the next guys in line. Ihemelu makes 150k and Hernandez is 33 years old. Could either lose out to one of those rookies?
Jakovic/James are locks due to the internationals rule. The third could be Allsopp/Boskovic/Hernandez/Pena. King and Zayner should be protected due to the investment that DC has in them (the draft picks traded). I could easily see Graye making this list as well, maybe in place of Quaranta? The addition of Zayner could push him back in the pecking order, though.
Speaking of investment, does that mean Perkins could be protected? It has to be a decent possibility despite his salary and level of play this season. Anyway, the big question for DC is whether or not Najar is going to graduate to senior roster status.
3/5 following internationals: Appiah/Hainault/Obodai/Palmer/Serioux. Ngwenya holds a green card, as does Onstad.
There isn't a whole lot of mystery here. Hall was protected a year ago, so I assume he'll continue to be. Ashe was protected last season, but not in the previous three years. Along with Ashe/Hall, Chabala/Oduro are cheap players getting a lot of playing time. Which ones represent the future of the team? Could they be favored over a vet like Mullan? I remember Wade Barrett was left off after 2008, and that was the beginning of the end for him.
One of the easiest teams to predict. If Myers graduates from GA, then he's a lock. I don't believe Omar Bravo will need to be protected, since he won't join the team until next season.
Who else on the available list could be protected? Maybe Zusi. Certainly not Wolff.
Loan players are really tricky to predict. It's possible that the Galaxy could protect several of their Brazilians, especially Juninho, rather than the non-locks listed.
Other than that, it's another easy list. I only list two changes from last year: Dunivant/Stephens instead of Berhalter/Kovalenko. Dunivant is probably the final guy, and may be left out once again. But I don't see any of the non-Brazilians beating him out. I mean, Berhalter is 37 and makes $180,000.
It looks as though Twellman will be finally left unprotected, if he doesn't retire. Currently, he's one of only 34 players to be protected every year from 2006-09.
Dube has been protected for two straight seasons, though it seems like Revolution fans don't think he deserves to be there this year. Boggs/Phelan/Sinovic/Tierney may be in contention. Stolica should be left off thanks to his big contract (218k), while the status of Perovic/Reis may be up in the air also due to money (180k each).
Hall and Miller were the final two off. Those are the only two I could see breaking into the list, it's pretty cut and dry. I think Albright is a more likely selection at this point. Luckily for NY, Tchani is probably going to be GA for another season (unless he plays every minute from here on out).
Another team where a GA graduation could have a big impact. As of now, I don't have Mwanga graduating, but that could change.
There are only four international players, three of which must be protected: Coudet/Gonzalez/Stahl/Torres. That's because another four players (Fred/Le Toux/Moreno/Miglioranzi) all hold green cards. It certainly isn't optimal for the Union to protect a Coudet or Stahl, but they'll have to. BTW, Mwanga also holds a green card. So even if he graduates, he won't affect this problem.
With large $250,000 salaries, Califf/Fred could easily be unprotected. But who among the available has earned their way onto the list? Possibly Miglioranzi and Nakazawa.
REAL SALT LAKE
Findley's contract situation will have an impact. If he leaves, that could be good news in regards to this draft, as they'd get to protect someone else (like Alexandre or Gonzalez). I know they really like Gonzalez, but do they like him enough to save him over Beltran or Wingert? He is on loan, so I suppose that complicates things in their favor.
Grabavoy/Russell/Williams were all unprotected last year and should stay that way.
Opara's injury may help them in the long run, as before it happened he would've easily gotten enough minutes to graduate.
Meanwhile, the three internationals seem to be easy picks. Geovanni/Sealy/Stephenson yes, Eduardo/Glen/Jasseh/Luiz no. Johnson is a green card holder.
But after that, this is one of the harder teams to predict. Convey and his big salary were unprotected a year ago, so at $250k this year, why not do that again? It would also seem likely that Busch (84k) is protected over Cannon (190k), and that Alvarez (183k) and Corrales (150k) are left out. They could also choose to protect no goalkeeper, since they were switching back and forth this year.
Like the Crew and Schelotto, I just don't think it makes a ton of sense to protect Keller. If he does make the list, or they decide to go with a younger player, then it could be Jaqua or Parke losing their spots. Let's also see how big of an impact Nkufo has the rest of the year.
It was a surprise to see them protect Marshall a year ago, but I don't think that'll happen again. I currently have center backs Hurtado/Ianni/Parke all protected, so that's plenty. Of course, Ianni can play at DM so I don't think it's too many. Riley once again should be left off, but I wonder if Nyassi could still make his way into the 2010 eleven.
Would anyone take de Guzman? I don't think they'll expose him, regardless. Mista, on the other hand, seems an easy choice to leave out.
It's more important than normal to keep the Canadian talent with Vancouver picking. I don't that will impact the list much (if at all), but it's still something to keep in mind.
Gomez's injury seemingly will make him safe to leave off, while Ibrahim's possible GA graduation could take away a spot depending on how high they value him.