World Cup, Expansion Draft Thoughts: Major League Soccer Talk Podcast


With a few days perspective, Christopher Riordan and myself are set to give our thoughts on the decision to award Qatar the 2022 World Cup. On this edition of the Major League Soccer Talk podcast, we talk about the decision, FIFA corruption, American entitlement and exceptionalism, press failings, and how to move forward. Then, Chris and myself look back on the MLS Expansion Draft and ask … why? If these teams didn’t want half of these players, why are we bothering with the draft?

That and Chris’s thoughts on Ben Olsen getting the full gig at DC United on this edition of the Major League Soccer Talk podcast.

3 thoughts on “World Cup, Expansion Draft Thoughts: Major League Soccer Talk Podcast”

  1. I disagree that Vancouver and Portland followed the strategy that Seattle and Philadelphia followed. If anything, the wheeling and dealing those two teams did is reminiscent of Toronto who traded away a lot of their picks and started their season with little expansion draft impact. Though I’m sure the two teams will do better in following Toronto’s model than the MLS team in red from Canada did.

    Philadelphia’s starting lineup in the beginning of the season was littered with expansion draft choices and the same in Seattle as expansion draft choices who contributed 127 starts that first year as Seattle kept them all except for Khano. Compare this to Toronto whose expansion picks made 4 starts in their first ( season. Where Philly were different than Seattle is that their few trades and their direction went towards drafting young players that will become Novak’s core within the team’s core eventually and obviously Torres will be part of that too.

    What separated Seattle from previous expansion teams this century was that their established player signings were solid with Keller and Ljungberg. But even better were their use of finding impact foreigners. The expansion of these slots from 5 (I think) to eight (as well as having 3 dps) is why I am not as worried about expansion as some others here. Hurtado and Montero were All Stars last season.

    From that expansion draft, the Sounders recently protected Evans, Jaqua and Riley who will continue to be contributors barring injury. But the injuries to Jaqua and Evans allowed Sturgis to emerge as Soccer America’s Ridge Mahoney named him in as a top 5 holding midfielder and Jeff Parke finally signed this season.

    I guess the not so secret word is that Seattle’s scouting was a big difference starting from the groundwork that occurred before Sigi arrived and continued by making good use of the castoff parts from other teams. Parke was iffy in signing last year so they used the Khano Smith allocation money and brought in Tyrone Marshall and ultimately gave up a second round pick for Ianni who was a spot starter last year but was more important this year. Zakuani also didn’t have the best combine and they were wise to stick with him. The biggest coup though was Alonso who was available to every other MLS team out there.

    All of this equals a deep team much of it due to the expansion draft and the starts those picks provided especially from Riley, Jaqua, Evans, Marshall, and Sturgis. Not only were their other moves shrewd but the expansion draft choices who are not with the team were offloaded for something in return except for Jarrod Smith. So very very little waste compared to what Toronto’s moves netted them.

    Portland and Vancouver can possibly reach the playoffs but based on their choice in following Toronto’s model, but I would guess they wouldn’t unless they sign impact foreigners and have their draft picks and bring in unwanted players (cheaply) from other MLS teams pan out right away. Player assessment and development is pretty essential. They might have solid starters but they might be lacking in quality depth. We’ll see how they scout. It should be interesting to compare the two teams next year and see how their futures diverge.

    Whatever their win-loss records are, I really hope these teams become successful in their communities and I’m confident they’ll feel the heat. Dig if you will the picture. After three seasons and an uptick of the economy Garber will point out how healthy the eight expansion teams from this century who entered the MLS in virgin markets are. Not only are these teams establishing roots right away like the other MLS teams but they are not making the mistakes their predecessors made and have a fanbase as plentiful as an ocean of violets in bloom. Okay that last part was and exaggeration. Right now to expansion groups he’s in don’t make me chase you, even doves have pride mode, but if a few years, prospective investor/owner groups will be enticed. Can you picture this? I can, but maybe I’m just too demanding.

  2. Your take on the World Cup bids was refreshing and different- thanks. That doesn’t mean I agree with it, especially the Qatar awarding. I hope 2026 goes to western europe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *