There were several notable names listed among the players the Seattle Sounders will expose to the 2019 MLS Expansion Draft as the front office seems to have prioritized protecting relatively young and/or cheap players over veterans. At the same time, they still managed to protect a group of players that would allow them to field a lineup with 10 of 11 starters from MLS Cup.
The draft will be held on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. with Nashville SC and Inter Miami each picking five players. No current MLS team can lose more than one player and they’ll be compensated with $50,000 in General Allocation Money if a player is selected.
Perhaps the biggest discrepancy between the official list and the ones compiled by Sounder at Heart staff and readers was Emmanuel Cecchini being left unprotected. It had been the common assumption that Cecchini’s loan terms would have included a no-trade clause, but apparently that’s not the case. That effectively allowed the Sounders to protect an extra player. Jordy Delem appears to have been that player.
Among the other notable names to be left unprotected are veterans Will Bruin, Victor Rodriguez, Harry Shipp and Román Torres. The Sounders may simply be gambling that those players’ relatively high salaries and/or interest in leaving the country will make them unattractive to expansion teams. In the case of Bruin, the Sounders are likely also gambling that his ACL injury overshadows his scoring record.
On the flip side, that the Sounders are protecting the likes of reportedly out-of-contract players like Kim Kee-hee, Kelvin Leerdam and Brad Smith suggests they may have a future with the team. In the case Smith, the Sounders could be holding onto his rights in case he’s interested in returning to MLS when his contract expires in the summer. They did something similar in protecting Joevin Jones following the 2017 season even though they knew he was going to Germany.
In the end, the Sounders ended up protecting Xavier Arreaga, Jordy Delem, Stefan Frei, Joevin Jones, Kim, Leerdam, Nicolas Lodeiro, Cristian Roldan, Raul Ruidiaz, Smith, Gustav Svensson and Nouhou. Those 12 are in addition to the five Homegrown Players who were automatically protected: Handwalla Bwana, Danny Leyva, Jordan Morris, Trey Muse and Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez.
Unprotected Players: Saad Abdul-Salaam, Will Bruin, Jonathan Campbell, Emanuel Cecchini, Justin Dhillon, Chad Marshall, Bryan Meredith, Victor Rodriguez, Alex Roldan, Harry Shipp, Luis Silva, Roman Torres.
The full list of exposed players can be found here.
Sounders expansion draft status
|Saad Abdul-Salaam||Handwalla Bwana||Xavier Arreaga|
|Will Bruin||Danny Leyva||Jordy Delem|
|Jonathan Campbell||Jordan Morris||Stefan Frei|
|Emanuel Cecchini||Trey Muse||Joevin Jones|
|Justin Dhillon||Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez||Kim Kee-hee|
|Bryan Meredith||Kelvin Leerdam|
|Victor Rodriguez||Nicolas Lodeiro|
|Alex Roldan||Cristian Roldan|
|Harry Shipp||Raul Ruidiaz|
|Luis Silva||Brad Smith|
|Roman Torres||Gustav Svensson|