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 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)
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)
Unprotected (predicted)

Micheal Azira
Jeremiah Gutjahr
Stefan Cleveland

Jonathan Bornstein
Grant Lillard
Elliot Collier

Brandt Bronico
Djordje Mihailovic
Raheem Edwards

Francisco Calvo
Andre Reynolds

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)
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)
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)
Unprotected (predicted)

Lalas Abubakar
Alex Crognale
Luis Argudo

Harrison Afful
Aboubacar Keita
Ricardo Clark

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


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

Protected (predicted)
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)
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

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)
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)
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)
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)
Unprotected (predicted)

Alexander Callens
Justin Haak
Luis Barraza

Valentin Castellanos
James Sands
Daniel Bedoya

Maxime Chanot
Joe Scally
Jeff Caldwell

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)
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

Greg Ranjitsingh

Mauricio Pereyra

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)
Unprotected (predicted)

Alejandro Bedoya
Brenden Aaronson
RJ Allen

Andre Blake
Jack de Vries
Joe Bendik

Jack Elliott
Anthony Fontana
Cory Burke

Matt Freese
Aurelien Collin

Olivier Mbaizo
Mark McKenzie
Warren Creavalle

Haris Medunjanin
Matthew Real
Marco Fabian

Jamiro Monteiro
Auston Trusty

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)
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)
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)
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

Emmanuel Ochoa
Paul Marie

Florian Jungwirth
Tommy Thompson
Jimmy Ockford

Guram Kashia
Casey Walls
Kevin Partida

Andres Rios
Jackson Yueill
Shea Salinas

Andrew Tarbell

Daniel Vega

Chris Wondolowski

Seattle Sounders

The Nouhou show could be .

Protected (predicted)
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)
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)
Unprotected (predicted)

Jozy Altidore
Ayo Akinola
Jon Bakero

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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