Predicting who will be available in the 2019 MLS Expansion Draft | Ben Baer Predicting who will be available in the 2019 MLS Expansion Draft | Ben Baer
The 2019 Expansion Draft is less than a week away, with Inter Miami and Nashville SC set to select five players each on Tuesday... Predicting who will be available in the 2019 MLS Expansion Draft | Ben Baer

Predicting who will be available in the 2019 MLS Expansion Draft | Ben Baer

The 2019 Expansion Draft is less than a week away, with Inter Miami and Nashville SC set to select five players each on Tuesday (5:30 pm ET; live on MLSsoccer.com). The pool of players they will be selecting from is set to be announced on Saturday, but we don’t have to wait that long to predict who those players are likely to be.

There are a lot of rules to the process of protecting players, which you can read about here, but basically teams can protect up to 12 players from possible selection and Generation adidas players who have not been graduated at the end of the season and Homegrown Players (ages 25 and under – born in or after 1994) on a club’s roster at the end of the season are automatically protected. Checking out the roster pages of every club from the end of the season could also offer some hints on why some players are automatically protected or not.

What makes this exercise even more difficult than usual is that the vast majority of clubs have not yet announced their decisions on which players’ 2020 options they will be exercising or declining. That information would go a long way towards knowing which players clubs value.

On-field play, while obviously important, is not the only reason to protect or not protect a player. Age, contract length and salary are all factors that will likely play into these decisions. Remember that Miami and Nashville will also not just be picking for themselves, but other teams across the league could also ask the two teams to make picks for them and execute a trade.

You will notice that there are five teams who are not listed below: D.C. United, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, New York Red Bulls and Vancouver Whitecaps FC are exempt from this draft after having players selected in last year’s Expansion Draft.

Atlanta United

It was a tough call, but Hector Villalba and Eric Remedi seem to be on the outs and Dion Pereira is a younger, cheaper option for the Five Stripes. Brandon Vazquez is another intriguing option.

Protected (predicted)
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Protected
Unprotected (predicted)

Ezequiel Barco
Mo Adams
Mikey Ambrose

Franco Escobar
George Bello
Jon Gallagher

Leandro Gonzalez Pirez
George Campbell
Alec Kann

Julian Gressel
Andrew Carleton
Kevin Kratz

Brad Guzan
Chris Goslin
Brandon Moore

Emerson Hyndman
Lagos Kunga
Luiz Nascimento

Jeff Larentowicz
Miles Robinson
Eric Remedi

Pity Martinez
 
Brandon Vazquez

Josef Martinez
 
Hector Villalba

Justin Meram
 
 

Dion Pereira
 
 

Florentin Pogba
 
 

Chicago Fire

Despite trading $400,000 in Targeted Allocation Money for him last year, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Fire left Raheem Edwards unprotected. With Chicago making trades with both Expansion teams, I would expect no Fire player to be selected.

Protected (predicted)
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Protected
Unprotected (predicted)

Micheal Azira
Jeremiah Gutjahr
Stefan Cleveland

Jonathan Bornstein
Grant Lillard
Elliot Collier

Brandt Bronico
Djordje Mihailovic
Raheem Edwards

Francisco Calvo
Andre Reynolds
Marcelo

Diego Campos
Gabriel Slonina
Cristian Martinez

Przyemyslaw Frankowski
 
Amando Moreno

Nicolas Gaitan
 
David Ousted

Fabian Herbers
 
Richard Sanchez

Johan Kappelhof
 
 

Aleksandar Katai
 
 

Alvaro Medran
 
 

CJ Sapong
 
 

FC Cincinnati

Gerard Nijkamp would love if someone took Fanendo Adi.

Protected (predicted)
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Protected
Unprotected (predicted)

Leonardo Bertone
Frankie Amaya
Fanendo Adi

Allan Cruz
Andrew Gutman
Fatai Alashe

Mathieu Deplagne
 
Nazmi Albadawi

Greg Garza
 
Logan Gdula

Joseph-Claude Gyau
 
Jimmy Hague

Nick Hagglund
 
Justin Hoyte

Emmanuel Ledesma
 
Roland Lamah

Tommy McCabe
 
Forrest Lasso

Spencer Richey
 
Ben Lundt

Przemyslaw Tyton
 
Kekuta Manneh

Maikel van der Werff
 
Darren Mattocks

Kendall Waston
 
Jimmy McLaughlin

 
 
Hassan Ndam

 
 
Alvas Powell

 
 
Caleb Stanko

Colorado Rapids

Dillon Serna or Niki Jackson was the tough call here.

Protected (predicted)
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Protected
Unprotected (predicted)

Kellyn Acosta
Sebastian Anderson
Johan Blomberg

Clint Irwin
Cole Bassett
Kofi Opare

Niki Jackson
Kortne Ford
Andre Rawls

Kei Kamara
Matt Hundley
Abdul Rwatubyaye

Nicolas Mezquida
Jonathan Lewis
Axel Sjoberg

Sam Nicholson
Dillon Serna
Deklan Wynne

Jack Price
Sam Vines
 

Keegan Rosenberry
 
 

Diego Rubio
 
 

Andre Shinyashiki
 
 

Tommy Smith
 
 

Danny Wilson
 
 

Columbus Crew SC

The Crew have some tough decisions to make as players like Waylon Francis, Hector Jimenez and Josh Williams could all be valuable to other teams.

Protected (predicted)
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Protected
Unprotected (predicted)

Lalas Abubakar
Alex Crognale
Luis Argudo

Harrison Afful
Aboubacar Keita
Ricardo Clark

Artur
Edward Opoku
Waylon Francis

Luis Diaz
JJ Williams
David Guzman

Jonathan Mensah
 
Jordan Hamilton

Youness Mokhtar
 
Federico Higuain

Darlington Nagbe
 
Hector Jimenez

Eloy Room
 
Jon Kempin

Pedro Santos
 
Ben Lundgaard

Wil Trapp
 
Connor Maloney

Milton Valenzuela
 
Eduardo Sosa

Gyasi Zardes
 
Josh Williams

 
 
Romario Williams

LAFC

Two starters (plus Lee Nguyen!) from the best regular-season team in MLS history could be available.

Protected (predicted)
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Protected
Unprotected (predicted)

Eduard Atuesta
 
Lamar Batista

Tristan Blackmon
 
Steven Beitashour

Latif Blessing
 
Mohamed El-Munir

Adama Diomande
 
Phillip Ejimadu

Mark-Anthony Kaye
 
Alejandro Guido

Tyler Miller
 
Jordan Harvey

Diego Palacios
 
Dejan Jakovic

Brian Rodriguez
 
Lee Nguyen

Diego Rossi
 
Adrien Perez

Eddie Segura
 
Javi Perez

Carlos Vela
 
Josh Perez

Walker Zimmerman
 
Danilo Silva

 
 
Pablo Sisniega

 
 
Peter-Lee Vassell

 
 
Rodolfo Zelaya

LA Galaxy

Some interesting depth central-midfield pieces here, and Julian Araujo could take over the starting right back role if Rolf Feltscher is picked.

Protected (predicted)
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Protected
Unprotected (predicted)

Romain Alessandrini
Efrain Alvarez
Favio Alvarez

Uriel Antuna
Hugo Arellano
Servando Carrasco

Julian Araujo
Bradford Jamieson IV
Emil Cuello

David Bingham
Diedie Traore
Rolf Feltscher

Joe Corona
Ethan Zubak
Tomas Hilliard-Arce

Jonathan dos Santos
 
Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Giancarlo Gonzalez
 
Juninho

Sebastian Lletget
 
Perry Kitchen

Cristian Pavon
 
Matt Lampson

Diego Polenta
 
Joao Pedro

Daniel Steres
 
Jorgen Skjelvik

Diedie Traore
 
Justin Vom Steeg

Minnesota United FC

Kevin Molino or Angelo Rodriguez is the tough pick here.

Protected (predicted)
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Protected
Unprotected (predicted)

Osvaldo Alonso
Abu Danladi
Miguel Ibarra

Michael Boxall
Collin Martin
Romario Ibarra

Thomas Chacon
Dayne St. Clair
Brent Kallman

Hassani Dotson
Mason Toye
Carter Manley

Ethan Finlay
 
Wilfried Moimbe-Tahrat

Chase Gasper
 
Kevin Molino

Jan Gregus
 
Ally Ng’Anzi

Robin Lod
 
Lawrence Olum

Vito Mannone
 
Wyatt Omsberg

Romain Metanire
 
Rasmus Schuller

Ike Opara
 
Bobby Shuttleworth

Angelo Rodriguez
 
 

Montreal Impact

It’s anyone’s guess who Olivier Renard and Thierry Henry value at this point.

Protected (predicted)
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Protected
Unprotected (predicted)

Zachary Brault-Guillard
Clement Bayiha
Victor Cabrera

Evan Bush
Jason Beaulieu
Rudy Camacho

Bojan Krkic
Mathieu Choiniere
Jorge Corrales

Lassi Lappalainen
Daniel Kinumbe
Clement Diop

Daniel Lovitz
Thomas Meilleur-Giguere
Rod Fanni

Orji Okwonkwo
James Pantemis
Anthony Jackson-Hamel

Ignacio Piatti
Shamit Shome
Ken Krolicki

Samuel Piette
Karifa Yao
Amar Sejdic

Jukka Raitala
 
Ballou Tabla

Bacary Sagna
 
 

Saphir Taider
 
 

Maxi Urruti
 
 

New England Revolution

Scott Caldwell and Jalil Anibaba could be good pieces for any team, while the salaries of Michael Mancienne and Wilfried Zahibo are probably prohibitive for any team thinking about selecting them.

Protected (predicted)
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Protected
Unprotected (predicted)

Juan Agudelo
Isaac Angking
Juan Fernando Caicedo

Jalil Anibaba
Tajon Buchanan
Scott Caldwell

Gustavo Bou
Diego Fagundez
Edgar Castillo

Teal Bunbury
Nicolas Firmino>
Cody Cropper

Brandon Bye
Zachary Herivaux
Brad Knighton

Luis Caicedo
Justin Rennicks
Michael Mancienne

Antonio Delamea
 
Brian Wright

Andrew Farrell
 
Wilfried Zahibo

Carles Gil
 
 

DeJuan Jones
 
 

Cristian Penilla
 
 

Matt Turner
 
 

New York City FC

Ben Sweat should be the No. 1 pick if he’s left unprotected, given his versatility, quality and salary.

Protected (predicted)
Automatically
Protected
Unprotected (predicted)

Alexander Callens
Justin Haak
Luis Barraza

Valentin Castellanos
James Sands
Daniel Bedoya

Maxime Chanot
Joe Scally
Jeff Caldwell

Heber
 
Sebastien Ibeagha

Sean Johnson
 
Gary Mackay-Steven

Ronald Matarrita
 
Jesus Medina

Alexandru Mitrita
 
Eric Miller

Maxi Moralez
 
Abdi Mohamed

Keaton Parks
 
Ebenezer Ofori

Alexander Ring
 
Tony Rocha

Ismael Tajouri-Shradi
 
Brad Stuver

Anton Tinnerholm
 
Ben Sweat

 
 
Juan Pablo Torres

Orlando City SC

Orlando are working on finding the core, but for now, there’s only a few players that must be protected.

Protected (predicted)
Automatically
Protected
Unprotected (predicted)

Tesho Akindele
Cam Lindley
Josue Colman

Carlos Ascues
Benji Michel
Alex De John

Dom Dwyer
Joao Moutinho
Adam Grinwis

Cristian Higuita
Mason Stajduhar
Will Johnson

Robin Jansson
 
Sacha Kljestan

Sebastian Mendez
 
Shane O’Neill

Kamal Miller
 
Santiago Patiño

Chris Mueller
 
Dillon Powers

Nani
 
Greg Ranjitsingh

Mauricio Pereyra
 
Robinho

Ruan
 
Oriol Rosell

Lamine Sane
 
Brian Rowe

 
 
Kyle Smith

Philadelphia Union

Raymon Gaddis or Olivier Mbaizo (who is young and cheap) is the tough call here.

Protected (predicted)
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Protected
Unprotected (predicted)

Alejandro Bedoya
Brenden Aaronson
RJ Allen

Andre Blake
Jack de Vries
Joe Bendik

Jack Elliott
Anthony Fontana
Cory Burke

Ilsinho
Matt Freese
Aurelien Collin

Olivier Mbaizo
Mark McKenzie
Warren Creavalle

Haris Medunjanin
Matthew Real
Marco Fabian

Jamiro Monteiro
Auston Trusty
Fabinho

Fafa Picault
Cole Turner
Raymon Gaddis

Kacper Przybylko
 
Michee Ngalina

Sergio Santos
 
 

Kai Wagner
 
 

Andrew Wooten
 
 

 
 
 

Portland Timbers

There’s some intriguing options here, with Jeff Attinella being a potential starting goalkeeper, Andy Polo being a Peruvian international and the two starting-caliber fullbacks.

Protected (predicted)
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Protected
Unprotected (predicted)

Sebastian Blanco
Marco Farfan
Dairon Asprilla

Julio Cascante
Foster Langsdorf
Jeff Attinella

Diego Chara
Eryk Williamson
Claude Dielna

Steve Clark
 
Andres Flores

Tomas Conechny
 
Aljaz Ivacic

Jeremy Ebobisse
 
Modou Jadama

Brian Fernandez
 
Marvin Loria

Larrys Mabiala
 
Kendall McIntosh

Jorge Moreira
 
Andy Polo

Cristhian Paredes
 
Zarek Valentin

Bill Tuiloma
 
Jorge Villafaña

Diego Valeri
 
Renzo Zambrano

Real Salt Lake

Joao Plata has been in and out of favor in recent years. He’s probably the toughest call on the board for RSL, even if it’s unlikely he gets selected.

Protected (predicted)
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Protected
Unprotected (predicted)

Kyle Beckerman
Danilo Acosta
Alex Horwarth

Nick Besler
Luis Arriaga
Luke Mulholland

Sam Johnson
Corey Baird
Justin Portillo>

Damir Kreilach
Justen Glad
Andrew Putna

Everton Luiz
Aaron Herrera
Kelyn Rowe

Douglas Martinez
Erik Holt
Pablo Ruiz

Nedum Onuoha
Brooks Lennon
Donny Toia

Joao Plata
David Ochoa
 

Albert Rusnak
Tate Schmitt
 

Sebastian Saucedo
Julian Vazquez
 

Jefferson Savarino
 
 

Marcelo Silva
 
 

San Jose Earthquakes

The Quakes have some tough decisions to make. Carlos Fierro’s salary could be a reason to leave him unprotected.

Protected (predicted)
Automatically
Protected
Unprotected (predicted)

Eric Calvillo
Jacob Akanyirige
Francois Affolter

Gilbert Fuentes
Matt Bersano

Magnus Eriksson
Siad Haji
Luis Felipe

Cristian Espinoza
Nick Lima
Carlos Fierro

Marcos Lopez
JT Marcinkowski
Danny Hoesen

Judson
Emmanuel Ochoa
Paul Marie

Florian Jungwirth
Tommy Thompson
Jimmy Ockford

Guram Kashia
Casey Walls
Kevin Partida

Andres Rios
Jackson Yueill
Shea Salinas

Vako
 
Andrew Tarbell

Daniel Vega
 
 

Chris Wondolowski
 
 

Seattle Sounders

The Nouhou show could be .

Protected (predicted)
Automatically
Protected
Unprotected (predicted)

Xavier Arreaga
Handwalla Bwana
Saad Abdul-Salaam

Emmanuel Cecchini
Danny Leyva
Will Bruin

Stefan Frei
Jordan Morris
Jonathan Campbell

Joevin Jones
Trey Muse
Jordy Delem

Kim Kee-hee
Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez
Justin Dhillon

Kelvin Leerdam
 
Bryan Meredith

Nicolas Lodeiro
 
Alex Roldan

Victor Rodriguez
 
Harry Shipp

Cristian Roldan
 
Luis Silva

Raul Ruidiaz
 
Nouhou Tolo

Brad Smith
 
Roman Torres

Gustav Svensson
 
 

Sporting Kansas City

There’s a number of high-priced veterans that could be left unprotected among this group.

Protected (predicted)
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Protected
Unprotected (predicted)

Botond Barath
Gianluca Busio
Eric Dick

Matt Besler
Cam Duke
Benny Feilhaber

Roger Espinoza
Tyler Freeman
Andreu Fontas

Gerso Fernandes
Felipe Hernandez
Nicolas Hasler

Felipe Gutierrez
Wan Kuzain
Erik Hurtado

Luis Martins
Jaylin Lindsey
Jimmy Medranda

Tim Melia
Daniel Salloi
Seth Sinovic

Krisztian Nemeth
 
Gedion Zelalem

Johnny Russell
 
Adrian Zendejas

Ilie Sanchez
 
 

Graham Smith
 
 

Graham Zusi
 
 

Toronto FC

Ali Curtis has a few decisions to make among his wing options.

Protected (predicted)
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Protected
Unprotected (predicted)

Jozy Altidore
Ayo Akinola
Jon Bakero

Auro
Aidan Daniels
Nicolas Benezet

Michael Bradley
Marky Delgado
Laurent Ciman

Nick DeLeon
Griffin Dorsey
Julian Dunn

Erickson Gallardo
Liam Fraser
Tsubasa Endoh

Omar Gonzalez
Noble Okello
Drew Moor

Richie Laryea
Jacob Shaffelburg
Ashtone Morgan

Chris Mavinga
 
Patrick Mullins

Justin Morrow
 
Caleb Patterson-Sewell

Jonathan Osorio
 
Ryan Telfer

Alejandro Pozuelo
 
Eriq Zavaleta

Quentin Westberg
 
 
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