So yesterday MLS teams quickly put behind them the spectacle that was the MLS Cup, and submitted their protected lists. Instead of analyzing the players the teams chose to protect, we're more excited about who has been left exposed. The Montreal Impact will have a much more enjoyable time than the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps did. The Whitecaps and Timbers spent so much time playing mind games with each other. Several picks were made by both teams that were more about pissing off the other side to fuel the rivalry.
I will go team by team, and highlight the players that stand out, and if these players will realistically be picked up by JMarsch and the boys. As stated by many bloggers and reporters who have already looked at the teams lists, there are some DPs that will interest all of us. But the more important players are the younger and cheaper guys. So here are some of the players that stand out to us.
Likeliness of any being chosen: Chicago doesn't really have a lot of depth. They have some decent pieces in their starting 11, but they haven't left anyone of game changing ability out for the Impact. Chaves is a decent striker, and had some pretty good moments. Husidic was an exciting player to watch in Chicago midfield, and likewise for Paladini. None of these players are all that great, and I'm expecting Chicago to leave the expansion draft unscathed.
Likeliness of being chosen: Zarek Valentin is the only player I can see being picked up by the Impact from Chivas. Chivas also didn't have a lot of talent, and pretty much protected the little quality they had. Blair Gavin is a great young American midfielder that could also get scooped. As for Courtois, he's French so he can never be ruled out.
Likeliness of being chosen: Here's where things start to get juicy. Colorado has left a lot of really interesting and valuable players available for Montreal to choose. I could honestly see the Impact selecting any one of the six players I listed above. I guarantee the Rapids will lose one of these players. Nyassi was picked up in the Expansion draft last year by the Whitecaps from Seattle, but the Caps' immediately traded Nyassi away to the Rapids. All of these players have some experience in this league and would instantly contribute to the Impact.
Likeliness of being chosen: Although Mendoza stands out right away, I highly doubt the Impact will even consider grabbing him. Marsch will want to bring in his own big name striker and I can't see the Impact biting. The Crew left Mendoza out fully knowing the Impact won't pay him what they're paying him. Ekpo could land a contract in Europe, leaving me to believe O'Rourke will be selected.
Austin Da Luz
Likeliness of being chosen: Da Luz and Quaranta are fairly important midfield players for DC United, but when you consider the fact that they also have Najar, DeRo and Pontius, I think DCU are okay with losing one. Nqwenya is an okay MLS striker, but he'd be a depth selection. My money is on Quaranta to get chosen.
Likeliness of being chosen: Daniel Hernandez is absolutely influential and very much the centre of FCD's build up play. If Marsch has any intelligence at all, he will select Hernandez. Santos is also a very capable MLS striker, and could be used properly if the Impact can put someone of pure class beside him. Hall and Villar are also very possible selections. But like we've seen many times before in the expansion draft, sometimes there are some head scratchers. Who knows? Maybe JM has other players in mind.
Likeliness of being chosen: Well I would have put Ching's name down, but he's been reported as saying he'll "retire if the Impact select him." Come on, Montreal can't be that bad Chingy. Also, talk about a clever strategy by the MLS Cup runners up. Just tell your aging exposed player to threaten retirement and he won't be chosen. And I know Costly was left exposed, but he talked about going back Mexico like seconds after the MLS Cup ended. So that leaves us with Cruz and Freeman. I personally was really pissed when Freeman left TFC. I think he's a pretty good player, but failed to play that much with the Dynamo. Cruz is a great speedy little winger, The Impact could do far worse than selecting Freeman or Cruz. I could see Cruz being picked up.
Likeliness of being chosen: Well Beckham has been protected, so that must mean the Galaxy have him locked up for one more year, right? Anyways, enough about that. Not many players stand out to me on the Galaxy exposed list. I guess Birchall could be useful. And I only put Chad on here because I am contractually obliged here at Waking the Red to talk about Chad Barrett in every post. Kind of like Ricky Bobby mentioning Powerade in his prayers. Chad's contract is way way too much, but man it would be hilarious if the BMO Bleus selected him.
Likeliness of being chosen: Steve Nicol is gone. In is Jay Heaps. Heaps had some pretty tough decisions to make only a couple days into his new gig. Caraglio won't be chosen because he's the Rev's DP. But Ryan Guy had a strong second half for New England and he would be very marketable to the Impact. Ryan "Guee". I'm predicting the Impact will choose Ryan Cochrane based on the fact that he has an extremely intimidating mustache, and he's a pretty solid defender.
Likeliness of being chosen: There are some other big names on the NYRB's list, but they are all older and very unlikely to be touched by Montreal. Auvray and Mendes aren't bad, but I'd be all over Ballouchy if I were choosing. Although Ballouchy didn't pan out to be the orchestrator that the Red Bulls thought, he can still add another dimension to the Impact attack.
Likeliness of being chosen: Freddy Adu has the potential to be a great player and a key piece to a championship caliber team in MLS. Unfortunately, he's been bounced around from a million teams. Adu needs consistency, and moving to Montreal would not provide that. I think the Impact are smart enough to choose another very capable midfielder that the Union have left unprotected. Justin Mapp should be picked up by the Montreal Impact, he'd be perfect for the Impact's midfield, and I will be baffled if he is overlooked.
*I am hearing from several reports that the Timbers formed some sort of deal with the Impact, resulting in the Impact passing by the Timbers unprotected players. The deal comes from the Ryan Pore loan, and was smart/ sly of the Timbers because they left some quality unprotected.
Likeliness of being chosen: RSL are one of the deepest teams in MLS. Every RSL fan is preparing for the worst tomorrow, and expecting either Grabavoy or Warner to be nabbed. All four that I have listed could easily start for the Impact, and they all would be a fantastic addition to a pretty weak looking Impact side.
Likeliness of being chosen: Nana's name is on here only because us TFC fans know Nana very well. I don't think Nana saw the playing time many of us expected down in San Jose, and if Montreal commit to him, Nana could once again be the pride and joy of a young Canadian MLS team. Realistically, Bobby Convey is way too talented to pass up, and I'm predicting the Impact pick him to use for trade bait, or at worse starting right back.
Seattle Sounders FC:
Likeliness of being chosen: Seattle has at least 8 quality players left exposed. But I narrowed it down to 6 possible guys. Montano played for the Impact on loan, and I doubt they pick him up again. The Impact should be looking at a defender, because it's no secret that good MLS defenders are hard to find. Riley, Gonzalez and Wahl would all be tremendous additions to a Montreal team that will more than likely be horrible at the back.
Likeliness of being chosen: Bravo is a perplexing case, and is the most believable DP to be chosen out of all the ones exposed. I still would consider it a long shot for Montreal to try and grab a DP from another MLS team. Rocastle and Sassano are solid MLS middies. Saad is a great depth striker, and Jefferson is an unproven DP that won't be selected. I doubt anyone gets chosen from Sporting KC.
Julian de Guzman
Likeliness of being chosen: Cann would get snapped up in a matter of seconds if he didn't have injury concerns looming over him. The only reason TFC would leave Cann unprotected is if Cann is still injured and they don't expect him to recover any time soon. de Guzman is left unprotected again, but Montreal will stay away from de Guzman because they've seen how he plays without other quality midfielders around him. Williams would be a smart addition to the Impact back line. Marosevic seems the most obvious player to be selected by Montreal. Soolsma is Dutch, and a tad over rated by us over in Toronto. No one else in MLS could tell you more than two sentences about Soolsma. The Impact will want to choose someone North American in the Expansion draft. So Soolsma is safe.
Likeliness of being chosen: The Impact already have one great keeper signed, so I doubt they'll go after Cannon( he's commanding a very high salary), or Nolly. Jarju has not impressed me at all, and I'm only really mentioning him because he's a DP on a Canadian team, leaving me to assume Leathers or Thorrington will be looked at the most. I don't think the Caps' have a whole lot of quality to offer the Impact, but Montreal could grab a guy just to piss the Caps' off. Because these two sides do not like each other at all.
So there it is. I've narrowed down the juiciest, most enticing players left exposed for tomorrow's Expansion draft. There will be lots of trades and excitement around tomorrow's picks, and there will totally be some crazy stupid picks by the Impact. I'm looking forward to it.
So what do you guys think of all of this? Agree with my selections? Or do you think you've got Marsch's thought process down to a science? Either way, leave some comments and let's get chatting about the very exciting MLS off season.