Just two days after the MLS Cup Final new sides Orlando City SC and New York City FC are robbing current MLS sides of 20 total players. That real-life expansion draft offers little time for Seattle Sounders FC (or the other three potential Cup participants) to figure out their expansion draft protected lists.
Here on SB Nation, with the power of 21 MLS team blogs (yes, there are only 20 MLS teams right now) we'll be running a Mock Expansion Draft next week. In order to do that there will need to be a Mock Protected List.
The first seven players on that list are quite easy;
- Clint Dempsey
- Obafemi Martins
- Osvaldo Alonso
- Chad Marshall
- Marco Pappa
- Brad Evans
- Lamar Neagle
That seventh may be a surprise, but Lamar's had a hell of a two year run. He's cheap, local and good. That's why 90% of Protectinator respondents want him protected. There's no reason to think that Adrian & Co do not protect any of those seven.
The next four are a bit tougher to guess, but Stefan Frei seems obvious. Though left available in past expansion drafts the lack of depth on the backline probably means that Leo Gonzalez is protected. With two spots left available for protection for three starting quality central midfielders and the bevy of attacking talent expect the Sounders to protect Gonzalo Pineda and Andy Rose.
Rose is on the first list as Azira is older by a few years and is a fine example of replacement level talent available in the lower leagues. Rose level talents are less likely to be in the SuperDraft now than they were in the past. Both are internationals. Protecting either of those players would mean that Seattle meets the minimum "must protect" number of internationals.
If any non-Azira player is taken expect the Ugandan to be the player to be the one pulled back and protected. If he is taken than Seattle should be expected to pull back one of their young defenders - Remick or Anibaba or Ockford. Remick is the most likely to be taken and impact the play of the Sounders, so he's my expected alternate pull back player.
This leaves a worst case scenario of Seattle losing Azira and one of Barrett/Cooper in a year when Jones, Morris, Okoli, Mansaray and maybe more compete for first team playing time. That's why Mock and real Expansion Draft consternation is boring.