TSG’s Jay Bell takes a look at the MLS club non-protected lists.
On Wednesday, Portland and Vancouver will take the first steps in truly building their MLS teams. Each will select 10 players who they feel will best fit the direction and identity of the team. Both look to be more ambitious than Philadelphia was last season, who went with youth. Both teams have already signed initial players and look to add more outside of the MLS avenues. Vancouver is likely to carry several more over from their Division 2 squad.
We take a look at what the lists of unprotected players means for each team as well as potential targets of the Portland Timbers and the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Chicago Fire’s list: Nery Castillo, Andrew Dykstra, Collins John, Krzysztof Krol, Freddie Ljungberg, Peter Lowry, Dasan Robinson, John Thorrington, Deris Umanzor.
What it means for them: Not much really. Chicago was able to protect all of their valued assets. Their unprotected list is filled with players that would be risks for Vancouver or Portland, but that Chicago could still build off of. Goalkeepers are not likely to be picked in the expansion draft and the Designated Players are too risky for the new teams.
What it means for the expansion draft: Lowry and Robinson could be targeted for valuable depth. Thorrington could also be looked to for a reliable veteran presence.
Chivas USA’s list: Carlos Borja, Jonathan Bornstein,Chukwudi Chijindu, Rodolfo Espinoza, Maykel Galindo, Alan Gordon, Dan Kennedy, Eduardo Lillingston, Giancarlo Maldonado, Gerson Mayen, Jesus Padilla, Osael Romero, Marcelo Saragosa, Mariano Trujillo, Alex Zotinca.
What it means for them: Chivas seems to be daring them to select one or two of their Hispanic attackers. Meanwhile Braun, Zizzo, Gavin, Lahoud, etc. are all protected. Chivas likely has a different plan than the one Vasquez had in mind.
What it means for the expansion draft: Chivas’ risky players cost less than Chicago’s, so they’re more tempting. An accomplished player like Maldonado may benefit in a different system and the expansion teams like players with upside, like Padilla.
Colorado Rapids’ list: Andre Akpan, Quincy Amarikwa, Stewart Ceus, Ian Joyce, Ross LaBauex, Claudio Lopez, Ciaran O’Brien, Scott Palguta, Ross Schunk, Wells Thompson, Peter Vagenas, Anthony Wallace.
What it means for them: Colorado protected their spine. That includes Cummings despite the possibility of losing him this summer. They never had great depth this season anyway, so they will need to address that this offseason.
What it means for the expansion draft: Two names jump off of this list: Wells Thompson and Anthony Wallace. Both became regulars down the stretch for the new MLS Cup champions. Wallace is young with upside; a perfect candidate. If they lose one, expect the other two switch to the protected list.
Columbus Crew’s list: Eric Brunner, Kevin Burns, Jason Garey, Leandre Griffit, Andy Gruenebaum, Frankie Hejduk, Adam Moffat, Duncan Oughton, Gino Padula, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Joshua Williams.
What it means for them: The Crew has already declined the options on its oldest players and will not have the grind of the Champions League next season. They’re looking to go younger and build for the next several years.
What it means for the expansion draft: Portland and Vancouver probably won’t select a goalkeeper, but if they did, Gruenebaum would be the one to target. Brunner, Garey, Griffit, Moffat, and Oughton are all solid MLS players. Columbus should lose two in the draft.
DC United’s list: Dan Allsopp, Brandon Barklage, Adam Cristman, Jordan Graye, Pablo Hernandez, Devon McTavish, Kurt Morsink, Juan Pena, Troy Perkins, Barry Rice, Carlos Varela..
What it means for them: Injuries ravaged a team that felt like they had a chance to make the playofffs. They hope to get the pieces back together this year. There is not much risk on the unprotected list as Hernandez never produced as they hoped.
What it means for the expansion draft: Portland and Vancouver are left with slim pickings. The better players are the riskiest in Perkins and Hernandez. One of them may take a flier on Barklage, Cristman, or McTavish late in the draft.
FC Dallas’ list: Eric Avila, Jeff Cunningham, Kyle Davies, Edson Edward, Bruno Guarda, Atiba Harris, Daniel Hernandez, Dax McCarty, Milton Rodriguez, Dario Sala, Jason Yeisley.
What it means for them: This team was deep and it shows. Dallas was just unable to protect all of their important pieces. The players that they do not lose will help them in their Champions League quest next season.
What it means for the expansion draft: How does Dax McCarty not get taken? He is a midfield cog that would provide experience, work rate, bite, etc. that is all desired in an expansion midfield. Avila, Guarda, and Harris are also dynamic young attacking players. Davies could get snatched up also unless he is put on the protected list after McCarty is taken.
Houston Dynamo’s list: Samuel Appiah, Corey Ashe, Ryan Cochrane, Richard Mulrooney, Joseph Ngwenya, Anthony Obodai, Dominic Oduro, Pat Onstad, Eddie Robinson.
What it means for them: Houston locked up their midfield and defense. TSG interviewee Geoff Cameron said they felt like they had the pieces. He’s probably right. Without any extra competitions, Houston’s core and a potential Designated Player (Gio . . . ?) should push for the playoffs again.
What it means for the expansion draft: If either team wants to athleticism, Ashe and Oduro can give them that. What if Vancouver wants to solidify their defensive depth and select Robinson? Is the league ready for a Demerit/Robinson pairing?
Los Angeles Galaxy’s list: Gregg Berhalter, Alex Cazumba, Leonardo Da Silva, Bryan Jordan, Jovan Kirovski, Dema Kovalenko, Mike Magee, Yohance Marshall, Brian Perk, Josh Saunders.
What it means for them: Retirements have already affected the team and there may be more. They were already going to need to get younger soon.
What it means for the expansion draft: Bryan Jordan would be a valuable hustle player in an inaugural season. Mike Magee is the most likely to be picked.
New England Revolution’s list: Zak Boggs, Preston Burpo, Nico Colaluca, Kheli Dube, Cory Gibbs, Jason Griffiths, Roberto Linck, Tim Murray, Pat Phelan, Seth Sinovic, Khano Smith, Ilija Stolica.
What it means for them: The team is finally moving forward past Ralston and Twellman. Kraft will have to allow Nicol to pick up some pieces if this team will return to the playoffs.
What it means for the expansion draft: Gibbs is 30, but how would that be for solidifying an expansion defense? New England should lose two with Phelan and Sinovic as the prime candidates.
New York Red Bulls’ list: Juan Pablo Angel, Andrew Boyens, Conor Chinn, Austin da Luz, Irving Garcia, Brian Nielsen, Carl Robinson, Ibrahim Salou, Luke Sassano, Greg Sutton, Carey Talley, Sinisa Ubiparipovic.
What it means for them:: With retirements, New York protected their important assets.
What it means for the expansion draft: They’re not going to pick up the salaries of Robinson or Salou. Angel is out already. Sassano and Ubiparipovic are workhorses in the midfield. One could get taken. Chinn and da Luz are also young players with upside.
Philadelphia Union’s list: Cristian Arrieta, Eduardo Coudet, Fred, Andrew Jacobson, Brad Knighton, Stefani Miglioranzi, Alejandro Moreno, Joseph Noone, Shea Salinas, Chris Seitz, Nick Zimmerman.
What it means for them: Nowak is staying with his plan. The team was young this season and they’ll still be young next season.
What it means for the expansion draft: Neither Vancouver nor Portland should go after older guys with big salaries: Arrieta, coudet, Fred, Migs, and Moreno. The team is young, but there are a lot of them. Philadelphia may lose two out of Jacobsen, Salinas, and Zimmerman.
Real Salt Lake’s list: Jean Alexandre, Pablo Campos, Robbie Findley, Nelson Gonzalez, Ned Grabavoy, David Horst, Rauwshan McKenzie, Timothy Melia, Alex Nimo, Kyle Reynish, Robbie Russell, Chris Shuler, Collen Warner, Andy Williams.
What it means for them: Same core going going forward.
What it means for the expansion draft RSL isn’t really risking losing Russell and Williams because of their age. The expansion sides may be interested in Alexandre or Grabavoy, as well as Warner and Gonzalez. Findley is trying his chances in Europe, but that would be a high-reward risk if he gets taken in the 9th or 10th rounds.
San Jose Earthquakes’ list: Arturo Alvarez, Andre Luiz, Steve Beitashour, Bobby Burling, Joe Cannon, Ramiro Corrales, Eduardo, Geovanni, Cornell Glen, Chris Leitch, Justin Morrow, Brad Ring, Tim Ward.
What it means for them: Yallop’s bunch will be back at it again next year if Wondolowski can keep the goals flowing.
What it means for the expansion draft: Geovanni is left out there, but Portland and Vancouver probably have their own ideas for DP’s. Arturo Alvarez is a dynamic attacker not common in the unprotected lists. Burling and Ward are the most likely to be selected.
Seattle Sounders FC’s list: Julian Baudet, Terry Boss, Danny Earls, David Estrada, Leonardo Gonzalez, Taylor Graham, Patrick Ianni, Roger Levesque, Tyrone Marshall, Miguel Montano, Blaise Nkufo, Pat Noonan, Sanna Nyassi, Zach Scott, Michael Seamon, Nathan Sturgis, Tyson Wahl.
What it means for them:: The Sounders had a deep squad. They needed one to win the US Open Cup, make the MLS playoffs, and compete in Champions League.
What it means for the expansion draft: I said Alvarez was rare in this draft, but Nyassi is here too. The Sounders are riddled with talented youngsters: Ianni, Montano, Seamon, Sturgis, Estrada, Wahl, etc. Gonzalez and Levesque are two veterans that will be considered. Seattle is another team that could lose two .
Sporting Kansas City’s list: Korede Aiyegbusi, Jamar Beasley, Sunil Chhetri, Jimmy Conrad, Birahim Diop, Zoltan Hercegfalvi, Aaron Hohlbein, Nick Koenenakis, Eric Kronberg, Jonathan Leathers, Chance Myers, Shavar Thomas, Josh Wolff.
What it means for them: The team formerly known as the Wizards did not have a bunch of important pieces this season. Conrad was the oldest and left out.
What it means for the expansion draft: Chance Myers is another young player to build a defense with. Leathers and Thomas are the only other two I could see being picked.
Toronto FC’s list: Chad Barrett, Julian deGuzman, Gabe Gala, Nick Garcia, Raivis Hscanovics, Fuad Ibrahim, Milos Kocic, Miguel Angel Ferrer Martinez, Joseph Nane, Amadou Sanyang, Martin Saric, Maxim Usanov, O’Brian White.
What it means for them: They brought in the German, but this team is still in turmoil. For a team that should be trying to get younger, they left most of their best young players unprotected.
What it means for the expansion draft: Almost everybody seems like a possibility depending on what direction Vancouver and Portland take. Attackers (Ibrahim, White, Barrett), midfielders (Saris, Sanyang, Nane, etc.), and defenders (Hscanovics, Usanov). A lot of those players seem like they could thrive in a better situation.