In a somewhat surprising decision, the Seattle Sounders have opted to protect their veteran corps of starters over some of the younger players on the periphery ahead of Friday’s MLS Expansion Draft. Most notable among the exposed players is centerback Jackson Ragen, a 24-year-old Seattle native who drew high praise from the coaching and technical staff during his first MLS season.
Here’s the full list of exposed Sounders players St. Louis City will be allowed to choose from: Sam Adeniran, Will Bruin, Abdoulaye Cissoko, Stefan Cleveland, Jimmy Medranda, Fredy Montero, Jackson Ragen, Kelyn Rowe and Andrew Thomas.
Likely working in the Sounders’ favor is that St. Louis City only has five picks to use, and it’s entirely possible they have their gaze focused elsewhere. The full list of Expansion Draft eligible players has several notable names, such as Houston Dynamo centerback Tim Parker.
Notably, shortly after this list was made public, the Sounders announced that they had traded one of their five open international roster spots to St. Louis for $100,000 in GAM. A day earlier, St. Louis City paid $200,000 in GAM to Nashville SC for an international roster spot. It’s entirely possible the Sounders agreed to a below-market trade with the understanding that St. Louis would not pick one of their players.
Aside from the eight Homegrown Players who are ineligible for the Expansion Draft, the Sounders protected what could reasonably be expected to be their starting XI based on how the roster stands today. Alex Roldan, Albert Rusnák, Nouhou, Stefan Frei, Jordan Morris, Nicolás Lodeiro, Yeimar Goméz Andrade, Xavier Arreaga and Cristian Roldan were the nine most-used players on the Sounders’ last year, while João Paulo and Raúl Ruidíaz are central parts of the roster. The 12th protected player is Léo Chú, who is one of only three internationals on the roster, of whom the Sounders had to protect at least two. Yeimar and Cissoko are the other players still listed as internationals.
Sounders 2022 Expansion Draft list
|Sam Adeniran||Alex Roldan||Obed Vargas|
|Will Bruin||Albert Rusnak||Josh Atencio|
|Abdoulaye Cissoko||Nouhou||Danny Leyva|
|Stefan Cleveland||Stefan Frei||Reed Baker-Whiting|
|Jimmy Medranda||Jordan Morris||Dylan Teves|
|Fredy Montero||Nicolas Lodeiro||Sota Kitahara|
|Jackson Ragen||Yeimar Gomez-Andrade||Ethan Dobbelaere|
|Kelyn Rowe||Cristian Roldan||Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez|
|Andrew Thomas||Joao Paulo|