The first act may be two days away, but today Toronto FC announced their list of protected players for the upcoming MLS Expansion draft. Both New York City FC and Orlando City SC will have an opportunity to select the players who Toronto, and others haven't protected. It always seemed unlikely that a Toronto player would be selected, but the list was a bit surprising and therefore that could change.
The most notable player left available was captain Steven Caldwell. There was some talk leading up to the draft that this might happen, but most assumed Toronto would protect him out of respect. It is unlikely that he will be picked as a result of his fairly substantial salary, but it still could happen.
The most likely Toronto player to be taken is Mark Bloom. With his low salary and evident skill he will be a very attractive option to both drafting clubs. As a result most assumed he would be protected. This might mean Greg Vanney intends to start Marky Delgado at the right back position.
Perhaps the biggest surprise in terms of protected players was Warren Creavalle, one who played few matches with Toronto in 2014. But Creavalle is a valuable player in this league. He can play multiple positions with decent quality and therefore fits perfectly on a Toronto team that likes to get injured.
One player who many were hoping might not be protected, more to further his development with another club than anything, was Ashtone Morgan. Morgan, however, is still considered a homegrown player and therefore is automatically protected.
Below is a full list of who Toronto protected, and who they left available. Waking The Red will have further analysis in the coming days:
Protected: Jermain Defoe, Gilberto, Luke Moore, Jonathan Osorio, Michael Bradley, Collen Warner, Justin Morrow, Nick Hagglund, Joe Bendik, Kyle Bekker and Warren Creavalle.
Homegrown: Quillan Roberts, Jordan Hamilton, Ashtone Morgan, Chris Mannella, Marco Delgado and Manny Aparicio, are also protected from the expansion draft.
Exposed: Jackson, Dominic Oduro, Mark Bloom, Steven Caldwell, Chris Konopka and Daniel Lovitz.