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MLS expansion draft on the horizon for Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps

With the MLS regular season set to end next weekend, the eight clubs not competing in the playoffs will begin turning attention to the 2011 roster and the expansion draft, which will supply 10 players apiece to the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps.

The draft will take place Nov. 24, three days after MLS Cup (and the day before Thanksgiving). The 16 current clubs must submit their list of 11 protected players by Nov. 22, giving the expansion teams about 48 hours to sift through approximately 175 available players. Portland and Vancouver will alternate selections through 10 rounds (20 players total). Portland has the first overall pick; Vancouver will choose first in the regular draft in January.

No current team will lose more than two players; some might not lose any. In 2004, the last time two teams entered the league in the same year, an existing club was subject to losing three players -- D.C. United, for example, said goodbye to Ezra Hendrickson, Thiago Martins and Kevin Ara. The top picks that year were Los Angeles midfielder Arturo Torres (Chivas USA) and Chicago midfielder Andy Williams (Real Salt Lake).

Here is DCU's current roster with player status.

MLS has been kind of enough to share some of the guidelines for this year's draft:

*Generation Adidas and homegrown players are exempt and do not need to be on the 11-man protected list. (Each fall, MLS reviews GA and homegrown players and decides whether they retain their status for another season.) All other developmental players are subject to selection, unless they are protected.

*When a club loses a player, it may move one unprotected player to the protected list.

*A club can expose a designated player to the expansion draft, unless the player has a no-trade clause in his contract. In that case, the player must be among the 11 protected.

*Protecting a player does not obligate a team to exercise a contract option; a deal can still be renegotiated.

*If a developmental player is selected, he must be offered a senior roster slot.

*As for international players, I will let MLS explain it. (FYI, green-card holders are not considered international.)

Clubs are restricted in the number of international player(s) that they may make available. Clubs may make available a number of international players equal to their total number of international players minus three, provided that if a club has three or fewer international players it may make available not more than one. For purposes of this expansion process, for U.S.-based clubs, any non-domestic U.S. player would count as an international and, for Toronto FC, any non-domestic U.S. player or non-domestic Canadian players would count as an international.

Got it?

A wrinkle this year is the new collective bargaining agreement, which allows greater freedom to free agents to move to another MLS club without the previous employer retaining rights and requiring compensation. This could affect a club's decision-making pertaining to the protected list. In the past, a team might have protected a free agent for his compensation value. Now, there is no incentive to protect a free agent that a club doesn't plan to re-sign.

By Steve Goff  | October 14, 2010; 5:30 PM ET
Categories:  MLS  | Tags:  MLS  
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So does anyone know if the current roster and player status is correct on the DCU site? That might help in playing the protection list game...

Posted by: DadRyan | October 14, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

You speak truth DadRyan. Not having to protect Najar, Shanosky and Hamid would be huge.

Posted by: mercurysnake77 | October 14, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

I'd rather not protect any of them save Najar and Hamid.

Posted by: delantero | October 14, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for posting this Goff!

The international thing is confusingly for DC's purposes, it can only make available 4 of its 7 SR Internationals? Assuming Boskovic doesn't have a no trade clause, does DC have any real incentive to waste a spot on him? Perkins isn't a DP, but didn't he have some deal about only playing for DC or Philly? I'm not advocating they dump him, espeically since they dont have to burn a spot for Bill, but I'd expect Vancouver to be interested in him with Soehn up there.

that all being said, its kind of hard to even find 11 eligible players on this roster to protect. Mine would be Burch, Hernandez*, Jakovic*, James*, McTavish, Pontius, Quaranta, Simms, Wallace, Perkins, Zayner. Swap in Boskovic for Zayner maybe, but its probably worth chancing that they wouldnt want to pick up his salary. so that leaves Alsopp, Cristman, King, and Morsink as the only likely targets.

Posted by: VTUnited | October 14, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

This is getting scarier as (some) teams have started getting considerably deeper. Understand the draft's value, but yikes.

Posted by: j_doe | October 14, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

So when do they re-calibrate the "home grown" status, before or after the draft?

I can't see both Hamid and Najar being allowed to keep the little kid status, especially with another baby on the way.

I agree its difficult to find 11 players to protect, but both of these guys would be on the list if they lose the protection.

Posted by: SoccerVA | October 14, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

My understanding is that if you're home grown (and thus Najar, Hamid and Shonosky), you STAY homegrown and are protected. Period. It's GA players who can graduate to senior roster.

Posted by: JoeW1 | October 14, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm gonna guess that Hamid, Najar and without a doubt Shanosky will retain their exemption through this expansion draft. United has to catch that break and be rewarded for getting as much as they have out of their commitment to youth development right?

Posted by: DadRyan | October 14, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

I was typing that before I saw your post JoeDub. If that is the case that would be excellent for us. I'm hoping you are right.

Posted by: DadRyan | October 14, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Is Yahoo or MLSnet having a fantasy player protection for the expansion draft?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | October 14, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

POS MLS site doesn't have fantasy MLS this year, but nice try 270...

Posted by: DadRyan | October 14, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

@JoeW -- There are two problems with your declaration. First, it contradicts what Goff is saying, and also isn't true. When the homegrown rule was concocted last season, it was meant to be for that year. Now, it seems to be available for 2 years, though that's a bit unclear. The only thing that is clear is that MLS is adapting and changing the rules of the program as it goes.

Second, the rules currently allow for two Homegrown roster exemption slots. Shanosky comes on boards after this season. I'm guessing he's exempted because he's not even on the roster. Otherwise, he'd have to occupy one of the 2 homegrown slots...Unless, of course, MLS is expanding the # of homegrown players, with the reserve league coming.

Posted by: fischy | October 14, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Any possible way we can leave everyone unprotected?

Posted by: Hoost | October 14, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

We shouldn't lose any important players if we can protect 11 senior roster players in addition to homegrown youngsters like Najar, Hamid and Shanosky.

Without knowing the players contract situation I would protect Boskovic, Jakovic, Julius James and Junior as internationals and Pontius, Wallace, Simms and Perkins.

That still leaves 2 others the team could protect out of Burch, King, McTavish, Morsink, Allsopp and Cristman.

Other MLS teams with more talent on their rosters will have to leave players more attractive than these exposed so it's possible DC might not lose anyone among the 20 players picked.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | October 14, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Sorry I left Quaranta out of my list of 9 players I'm pretty sure should be protected.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | October 14, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Junior is a Senior International. Interesting. Counting our DP, Boskovic, I think we have eight SIs. We can expose five. I don't know if Boskovic has a no-trade clause in his contract, but I would protect him regardless. And I like Joel M Lane's SI protected list, except that I would add Hernandez. And do you think Varela will be scooped up if not protected?

Posted by: b18bolo | October 14, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

My list: The 4 internationals: Jakovic, James, Varela and, surprise, Carreiro. If the 'Caps or Timbers want Hernandez or Allsopp, let 'em go. I doubt they want those contracts. I'm assuming that Boskovic doesn't count as a senior international because his official roster status is DP. So, that's 5. Wallace, Simms, Quaranta, Pontius, McTavish, and Perkins. If Boskovic counts as one of the 4, then I'd protect King or Morsink and risk Carreiro (I'd probably go with King, but I'm on the fence right now.

All of this assumes that nited will be allowed to hold on to Hamid and Najar as Homegrowns.

Burch and Barklage are unlikely t be picked, given their multiple injury history this year. I'm not so sure that Wallace would be allowed to slide through, so I put him on the list.

My guess is that United would lose Morsink and/or King.

Posted by: fischy | October 14, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

@b18 bolo -- Right. I wasn't thinking. DCU will have to protect Boskovic and 4 other internationals. I do think Varela would be scooped up, and I think that would be a big loss. He's got skills I don't see in other players on the roster. So, I put him on my list. Would DC lose both King and Morsink? Well, the 'Caps and Timbers have probably seen a fair amount of King, so it depends on what they thought of him. Morsink? He's a decent veteran, who will come very cheap. I don't know how many other teams will leave that kind of value pick unprotected. It's hard to offer even intelligent guesses without gaming each team's protection list. I know DCU's roster isn't very deep, but I think there's a chance we'll lose guys to both teams.

Posted by: fischy | October 15, 2010 1:02 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: runningcloud | October 15, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

So, DC has to expose 12 players? (26 on roster, -3 homegrown, -11 protected)

Here's my 12 to dangle:


Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | October 15, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Having Soehn on the technical team for the 'Caps has to be factored into how much the team wants to gamble with the list. Wouldn't he be much more likely to snap up Burch or McT over King and Morsink? I really hope the team protects McT. He isn't the most skilled player, but he fights hard, and can provide cover for a lot of positions.

Posted by: VTUnited | October 15, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

All the players (with one exception, in my opinion) bring some positive qualities. But you have to ask yourself, and brutally honestly, CAN they help this team WIN?

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | October 15, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

GoG, if anyone wants Pena they're going to need a van with a wheelchair lift.

Posted by: fallschurch1 | October 15, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

@VTUnited -- You're assuming that Soehn has positive memories of Burch. Seriously, though, if he were healthy, I'd put him on the protect list. With the limited number of prospects available to the new teams, I'd be surprised if they take a chance on someone who suddenly seems very brittle. Same for a guy like Barklage. McTavish, on the other hand, I think should be protected. He's versatile. A team with this injury madness needs someone like him. While I'm not the biggest fan of Rodney Wallace, I'd also protect him just because he might have more upside potential, if he grows as a player... Interestinglly though, Soehn was not the biggest Rodney Wallace fan -- the story is that the ownership forced him to draft Wallace, instead of Stefan Frei. Still, I think he'd snap up Wallace if he's made available.

Posted by: fischy | October 15, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Can't Portland just take DCU entirely? Sure would make it easier for Chang going from SF to Portland and would end all the drama about a stadium, moving, etc., etc.

Posted by: lovinliberty | October 15, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

@Fischy - absolutely agree that Soehn could have the exact opposite opinion of the Man with No Right Foot. I thought he played much better this season, though for a very short time, and could probably still turn out to be one of the better LBs in the League.

Back to Boskovic for a second - does anyone really think either expansion team would take him? Not slighting his skills in the least, as I think he will still prove to be an excellent addition, but why would an expansion team want to take on a DP salary for a "no name" who to date has not performed very well in MLS? If the team got in a bind where they had more players they wanted to protect (if Hamid and Najar aren't exempt), then this would be a gamble worth taking.

Posted by: VTUnited | October 15, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

For the well-being of the club going forward, it would be useful to have United say that they have a decision on the coach for next year.

Part of what's been so awful in our performances is the complete lack of direction on the pitch. You can definitively say that whatever Quaranta, King, Morsink, Boskovic, and Hernandez in the engine room of the team have been told to do is not working. If they get the same instructions, then it simply doesn't matter who we protect after Najar, and Hamid. It's square pegs in round holes.

Why not offer Quaranta for transfer? He has not made enough of his chances and might need a change of team. And surely we could get someone in for him if we knew who was coaching and he could decide what he was looking for.

Posted by: gooner71 | October 15, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Hey, could we leave Payne and Kasper unprotected?

Posted by: lovinliberty | October 15, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

@VTUnited -- I'm assuming that Bosco has a no-trade clause. Seems unlikely that he'd go across the Atlantic without making sure he could be sure of his destination. A no-trade clause means he has to go on the protection list. Otherwise, you're right -- he's not likely to be picked in the expansion draft.

Posted by: fischy | October 15, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

As abysmal as DC has been this season, I can easily see them losing 2 players in this draft. Assuming some or all of Zayner, Morsink, Rice, Graye, King, Christman and Barklage are exposed, they all make less than 50K, and all but Barklage played significant minutes this season. For young, cheap players, they have a lot of experience in MLS. Several of them are good risks at the price.

Posted by: joemybro | October 15, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Man, I am looking at that roster, and it is scary. Kind of puts into perspective why this season has turned out the way it has.

There's not one defender on the list who I would say we could write them into the starting line up for next year now. Jakovic comes closest.

Midfield is our strong suit, but I still can't get a solid 4 who I would just sign them up now and forget about it. Najar and Simms yeah, but then who? Nobody who I would say couldn't be upgraded.

In the nets, Perkins continues to be baffling and Hamid is still young.

And our forwards of course are tragic.

No wonder this season has been so disastrous.

Posted by: Matte | October 15, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

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