The MLS expansion draft will take place on December 13. A little more than 2 weeks away and the Vancouver Whitecaps will only be able to protect eleven players. The draft rules are different this year. Where previously when two teams entered the league in the same year, like Vancouver and Portland did in 2011, each expansion team drafted 10 players causing 20 players to change teams in one day. This year Atlanta and Minnesota will only be allowed to draft 5 players each. The change in rules is due to the the evolution of the MLS and the many more avenues to recruiting talent available now. Minnesota will be coming out of the NASL with a base they can draw from and Atlanta has already been active signing players from the international market.
That is only 10 players spread over 20 teams, meaning the ‘Caps have a 50% percent chance of walking away from the draft with their entire roster intact. You might think the percentage would be higher considering the ‘Caps struggles this year, but with such a young team maybe some of our future hopes are too tantalizing to pass on.
Exempt from the draft beyond the 11 protected players are our home grown players and Christian Dean, our one Generation Adidas player.
The home grown players include:
Marco Bustos, Kianz Froese, Sam Adegkube, Marco Carducci, Alphonso Davies (thank God), Ben McKendry and Russel Teibert.
That makes everyone else fair game. So, which eleven players do you place on your protection list?
Here is my eleven:
- David Ousted
- Matias Laba
- Kendall Waston
- Tim Parker
- Nicolas Mezquida
- Kekutah Manneh
- David Edgar
- Christian Bolanos
- Andrew Jacobson
- Bret Levis
- Jordan Harvey
Unfortunately, that was an easy list for me to compile. The only slightly difficult decision I had was whether to assume Harvey would be passed over because of his age. But, his experience and continued ability at LB is probably what an expansion team needs in an inaugural season, and it’s what I think the ‘Caps still need too. So he stays.
That leaves Masato Kudo, Hurtado and Cristian Techera open for selection. I would like Kudo to stay and be the success we all hoped he would be, but I don’t think that is a sure thing. Hurtado is becoming more useful to the team, but in my opinion, not at the expense of Parker or Levis. And Techera’s loss would be a hit to the team since they just paid a transfer fee, but perhaps his cap hit versus his 2016 production is enough to scare other teams away. Plus, would it really be so bad if he was picked up?
That leaves Barnes, who may be on his way back to England, de Jong, who as a Canadian would be an international for an expansion team, Flores, who is such a long term project won’t be missed, Seiler, Tornaghi and Smith who haven’t done anything attractive enough to be noticed, and Blas Perez, who I think still has value to the team but isn’t played enough to warrant protection. I don’t see any of this group getting snatched away, and if they did, I wouldn’t be too choked. Maybe, a little at losing Perez.
I think this draft will be a non issue for the ‘Caps. With only 5 selections available to them Atlanta and Minnesota will be looking for either stalwart, Jordan Harvey like role players with experience, or they’ll be taking a chance on young, Tim Parker like, promise.
It will be good to get the draft out of the way so we can begin to talk about the new signings that can finally come after.
In the meantime, there’s not a lot to talk about, so, who would you protect?