With the Union having the weekend off, news is slow in Union land. In the meanwhile, let’s take a crack at predicting the protected list for the Union and who may be selected from our team. This will be my only attempt at predicting our protected list until the off-season.
Expansion Draft Rules
This year, two teams – New York City and Orlando City- will be entering the league. Each team gets to protect 10 players. When one player from the Union is picked, we get to choose an 11th to protect.
The only players automatically exempt from the draft are players on Generation Adidas deals (Andre Blake) and homegrown players (Pfeffer, McLaughlin, Hernandez, and maybe White). Designated players can be selected by other teams.
Here’s where things can get weird. Teams need to protect a certain number of international players. A team can make available their total number of international players minus three. In the case of the Union, we need must protect at least three international players.
You can find the complete expansion rules from the last expansion draft on MLS’s website here.
Here is my list of protected players. I’ll explain some of the questionable selections in further detail.
1. Vincent Nogueira
2. Cristian Maidana
3. Carlos Valdes
4. Rais MBolhi
5. Amobi Okugo
6. Ray Gaddis
7. Sebastian Le Toux
8. Pedro Ribeiro
9. Andrew Wenger
10. Brian Brown
11. Sheanon Williams/Danny Cruz
In this situation, I’d expect either Sheanon, Danny Cruz, and/or Austin Berry to be selected. Now let’s look at some of the questions this list leaves.
Personally, I am convinced Zac will be traded to Orlando prior to the draft. The trade would certainly require a gentleman’s agreement that Orlando would not select another Union player, leaving only New York selecting from our player list. In this situation, New York would be allowed to pick two of our players.
Why is Maurice not on this list? I offer two main answers.
1. I do not think the Union should extend his loan past this year. With Okugo on the roster, Edu finds himself at a logjam. One of Okugo or Edu must play outside their natural position. Okugo is younger and a more determined player than Edu. Is it worth spending a DP contract on someone playing out of position?
2. If we do sign Edu, I would still leave him unprotected. If we trade MacMath with the agreement that Orlando will not pick any of our players, we put New York in a hard spot. They currently have two DP’s. I expect a fourth slot to be added in the off-season. New York is looking for big name players. Names like Xavi and Lukas Podolski have been thrown around. Are they really willing to spend over a million dollars on Maurice at the expense of a bigger name?
As I said, I think he is still subject to homegrown rules. However, this is MLS where rules are made up on the fly. If he is not exempt, I would protect him over Brian Brown and take the risk that New York does not protect him. They will likely be very close to their international limit.
What do you, my readers, think? Does your list differ from mine?