Projecting the Expansion Draft

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.

My List:

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.

Zac MacMath

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.

Maurice Edu

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?

Ethan White

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?


12 thoughts on “Projecting the Expansion Draft”

  1. I’d protect Williams over Brown. Brown has done nothing to show that he deserves to be protected and I’m not sure his loan even extends past the end of the season anyway. I know Williams and Gaddis are stuck playing the same position, but they’ve been fine in their current alignment and I wouldn’t mess with it. I fully agree with leaving Edu off.

  2. If I recall, isn’t Brown’s loan up at the end of the season? Could the Union let the loan expire, wait for the draft, then sign him (assuming they want to keep him)? (Of course, this being MLS, the answer might be, “It depends on the player and team.”)

  3. Um, Conor Casey??? I realize the dude is aging a bit and isn’t quite what he once was, but he’s still quite a valuable player for another year or two. Leaving him unprotected in favor of Ribeiro or Brown strikes me as pretty absurd, to be honest.

    I would like to see Edu back with the team next year, but I do see the logic in leaving him open. If he did get selected it would free up a whole buncha $$$ to chase some other players, so there would be an upside. And you’re right that the new clubs probably would not want to spend that kind of money on him. One question is whether he has a no-trade clause in his contract, in which case we have to protect him.

    And I would definitely protect Williams over Cruz, without question. I don’t think we’d miss Cruz much if he were taken.

    1. No one will pick Conor on his salary and at his age. Pedro was a first round pick. It’s like leaving Marcus Smith or Jordan Matthews unprotected in an NFL draft. He’d be picked immediately.

      1. Montreal picked Brian Ching, essentially to force Houston to trade them someone they wanted in order to get Ching back.

  4. I would protect Sheanon Williams before Brian Brown as he is a nice player but not that well known. Also the first person I would pull back is Leo Fernandes and not Danny Cruz. Danny is a nice player but Leo is younger and I think has a higher ceiling talent wise,

  5. McLaughlin has looked good” down on the farm” this season, which makes Cruz expendable.I would expect them to make a trade of one of our keepers and a right back before the draft, maybe for draft picks so they don’t have to protect anyone else.

  6. Here is the problem with our GK situation. Blake and M’hobli are both involved with their national teams. We still need three keepers. I won’t trade MacMath. I’d loan out Blake.
    Cruz is expendable. If he isn’t chosen still let him go. We need to have Pfeffer and McLaughlin on the team.

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