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Irwin & Beitashour left unprotected for MLS Expansion Draft

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Toronto FC are taking a gamble with their starting goalkeeper.

MLS: MLS Cup Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Clint Irwin, Steven Beitashour and Tosaint Ricketts are the notable players exposed by Toronto FC for the upcoming MLS Expansion Draft.

There was almost no way for the Reds to get out of this without putting at least one important first-team player at risk and as we predicted, Beitashour is a victim due to his $244,000 salary.

What we didn’t see coming, however, was the protection of Tsubasa Endoh over first-choice goalkeeper Clint Irwin.

There are a couple of potential reasons for this, the most simple of which is that under MLS’ almost-indecipherable rules, Canadians do not count as international players for the purposes of the draft. That would mean protecting Endoh along with Sebastian Giovinco and Armando Cooper to meet the quota instead of Jonathan Osorio already serving to do so.

MLS: MLS Cup Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The other is that Toronto still hold out hope for Endoh, who started his rookie season very well but was not much of a factor in the final months of the campaign. Earning just $51,500 on the team’s reserve roster, he could represent a low-risk gamble for Minnesota or Atlanta United if they did not fancy any of the more-established TFC players available.

There is also the matter of whether either Atlanta or Minnesota would be interested in Irwin. Atlanta could be ruled out straight away if, as expected, they complete the signing of U.S. international Brad Guzan. Minnesota, however, do not have a goalkeeper lined up and will not be able to land Zac MacMath, who was protected by the Colorado Rapids despite the arrival of Tim Howard.

Irwin’s play was slightly mixed after he returned from the injury which kept him out for around three months, but he comes at a very reasonable $107,625 salary.

The full protected list is: Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, Armando Cooper, Marky Delgado, Tsubasa Endoh, Sebastian Giovinco, Nick Hagglund, Drew Moor, Justin Morrow, Jonathan Osorio and Eriq Zavaleta.

Those automatically protected are: Alex Bono, Jay Chapman, Jordan Hamilton, Chris Mannella, Ashtone Morgan and Quillan Roberts.

Those exposed are: Steven Beitashour, Josh Williams, Mark Bloom, Will Johnson, Tosaint Ricketts, Clint Irwin, Daniel Lovitz, Benoit Cheyrou, Clement Simonin and Mo Babouli.

The draft takes place tomorrow at 2pm ET.