Cristian Roldan and Damion Lowe of the Seattle Sounders have both graduated from the Generation adidas Program at the end of the 2016 MLS regular season. This means that they are will no longer be classified as Generation adidas on the roster and will not be automatically protected in the 2016 Expansion Draft that will be held three days after MLS Cup on December 13, 2016.
Roldan was drafted in the first round (16th overall) of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft after spending two years at the University of Washington. In 55 regular season appearances with the Sounders, he has logged 3,746 minutes and has scored four goals (all in 2016) and has four assists.
He has really found his groove since Brian Schmetzer has taken over. Since Schmetzer’s first game as interim head coach, Roldan has played 90 minutes in 13 of the 14 games (and gone 80 minutes in the remaining game). In our very own Realio’s ratings he has averaged over a full point higher under Schmetzer (an amazing 6.79), and pulled in three MotM awards.
[Ed. Note: Realio will be breaking down the season’s ratings for the entire roster as part of our after-season coverage, including a look at players’ ratings under each coach.]
Lowe was selected with the 8th overall pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft. He spent three years at Hartford where he played in 44 games and had eight goals.
Lowe has never appeared in a game with the Sounders since being signed. In 2015 he was loaned to Seattle Sounders FC 2, where he appeared in 17 games and had one goal. For the 2016 season, he was loaned to Minnesota United where he appeared in 27 games (25 of them as a starter) and scored two goals.
If the Sounders do not want to lose either of these players, they will need to protect them in the expansion draft. I would hope that the Sounders plan to protect Roldan, as he is showing the potential he has while being paired with Osvaldo Alonso. How to handle Lowe is a much more difficult question given his lack of involvement with the team to this point. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Seattle not protect him and I could see him being possibly selected by Minnesota if they liked what they saw of him this season.