Monday, November 6, 2017

Expansion Draft Coming, Maybe?

Next year LAFC becomes team #23 in MLS.  From all expectations there will be an expansion draft sometime in December for them, but oddly there's been no announcement of the timing or rules for that draft.  Maybe MLS is going to do something different this time?

For now I'm going to assume its coming and I'm going to assume its going to use essentially the same rules as last year's draft for Atlanta and Minnesota used.  With those assumptions, here's who I'd protect on the Rapids.  A quick recap of the rules:

  • Teams protect 11 players
  • All homegrown and Generation Adidas players are automatically protected on top of the 11
  • All players with a no-trade clause must be protected
  • DP's are not automatically protected
  • At least 3 internationals must be protected
Auto-protected homegrown players: Calvert, Ford, Perez, Serna
Auto-protected Generation Adidas players: None (I'm assuming Hairston and Miller have both graduated from the program)

* = Protected in 2016 expansion draft

International minimum:
Aigner - Obvious choice, I think he'll be a key part of the squad next year
Badji* - His somewhat surprising run to the Golden Boot means he's now a key part of the team
Gashi* - Based on Smith's radio interview it sounds like he's learned what he needs to do to contribute

Azira* - Struggled in 2017 without a consistent partner in midfield but still the best dmid we have
Boateng - His broken back made this season a wash but I expect Smith sees him a a key building block going forward
Hairston* - Has things to work on but brings a sense of urgency and attitude the rest of the team lacks
Howard* - Even without the no-trade clause I'm sure he has he would be an obvious choice.  Too good to let walk away for nothing
MacMath* - Too valuable to let get away, and his time is coming
Saied - Not blown away buy him but better quality than most
Sjoberg* - The big Swede is a good foundation for this rebuilding team

That's 10 obvious choices.  The 11th is really dependent on what the FO thinks LAFC is looking for and what player has the most value going forward.  If Gatt or Williams has trade value, protect them.  if Castillo has a future here, protect him.  If Gordon can be re-signed for a lower number, he might be worth protecting as he would be an obvious LAFC target.  My recommendation from the outside would be Gordon as I think he's the valuable player most likely to be selected by LAFC.

Usually at the end of a season I do a roster review, separating players into keep, keep unless upgrade possible, cut, etc.  This year though this post pretty much does that.  Quite simply this roster isn't good enough to compete in MLS as built and most of the players on it will need to be replaced in order to win anything it this league.  If they're not listed above assume they're only worth keeping because you can't swap out 13-16 players in one season so some of them will have to stay.

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