Not even 24 hours after crowning its champion, MLS was back to business by requiring its clubs to list its protected players for the expansion draft. The expansion draft is just one of several drafts taking place this offseason for MLS, and the unprotected list for this draft has some interesting names. Most notably is the number of designated players left unprotected – seven, which is two more than the number protected by clubs. But since no club has yet to win an MLS Cup with a DP, maybe this is not surprising.
You can see the entire list of players here. The unprotected players can be sorted by a few general categories:
Designated Players – Not David Beckham, but some of the lesser name DPs have been left unprotected. Some are disappointments that the club is looking to shed the salary of. But some of the more “name” DPs exposed include the Red Bulls Juan Pablo Angel and Seattle’s Blaise Nkufo. Maybe the best of this group is the Quakes’ Geovanni.
Past Stars – MLS’s second-leading goal scorer is available, as Jeff Cunningham was made available by FC Dallas. Also, as part of their rebuilding, the Crew put Guillermo Barros Schelotto on their list, making a veteran leader available for either expansion team. And instead of being placed in the re-entry draft, Sporting KC’s Jimmy Conrad was left unprotected.
2010 Playoff Stars – Colorado is protecting most of the starters from its MLS Cup-winning club (with the notable exception being Anthony Wallace) but FC Dallas is exposing a number of its big names: Eric Avila, Atiba Harris, captain Daniel Hernandez, and Dax McCarty. Playoff qualifiers Seattle (Nyassi) and Real Salt Lake (Grabavoy) also made the decision to possibly part ways with some key contributors.
Players Leaving – Yes Jonathan Bornstein is leaving for Mexico, but MLS rules still state he needs to be placed on the unprotected list. Just a weird quirk.
Players Not on the List – One player that was expected to be on the list was Brian Carroll, but the Crew traded him today to the Philadelphia Union. While Carroll is reunited with his former coach and Columbus clears more cap space for rebuilding, I am sure Vancouver and Portland executives were looking seriously at drafting him. There are also quirky decisions scattered throughout the league, like New England holding on to two keepers.
Obviously factors like need and cap space will factor into who is selected, but pretend you are the GM of one of these expansion teams.