Just days (Dec. 12) after MLS Cup the Seattle Sounders are likely to lose a player in the Expansion Draft. While Los Angeles FC will only boost their roster by taking five players, the Sounders are a deep, great squad. They cannot protect everyone.
In deciding who to protect Jeremiah and I took into account contract status for next year, as best we know, as well as likely “no trade clauses.” For the most part the list of protected players was easy. The four Homegrown Players were automatically protected (Jordan Morris, Henry Wingo, Aaron Kovar, Seyi Adekoya).
Cristian Roldan is cheap and awesome, for example. We were in complete agreement about the following other players. Clint Dempsey, Nicolas Lodeiro, Chad Marshall, Roman Torres, Kelvin Leerdam, Gustav Svensson, Victor Rodriguez, Stefan Frei and Nouhou. A player at Nouhou’s age, cap hit and quality is a must, in our opinion — even if a new signing bumps him to the bench.
Our only debate came down to Osvaldo Alonso versus Will Bruin. We protected Ozzie, the captain. It was not because of his armband, but the expectation that he has a “no trade clause.”
That left Will Bruin available. Angels on Parade took him.
TFC also lost a likely starter from the MLS Cup.
Seattle’s other notables available from our mock list were Harry Shipp, Brad Evans and the rights to Joevin Jones. The thing is, Seattle can afford to lose any of them, even Alonso if he is not protected.
The core is both deep and broad. Losing Bruin would not impact the play on the field. President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey would be able to replace his talent level with an open DP slot or the rumored two million dollars of additional Targeted Allocation Money.
In an ideal world the Sounders wouldn’t be hit by an Expansion Draft. Will’s demeanor in the locker room and workhorse attitude on the pitch are great. His integration with the fan community was nearly instant. Bruin is valuable beyond his 13 all competitions goals (so far).
That’s why if he’s available Bob Bradley may take him, but with only five selections LAFC may avoid a relatively high-paid MLS veteran in order to spend that cap hit on someone from outside of the league and select younger players.