Another season is getting closer to an end, and that means another team is looking towards coming into the league next year. Seattle Sounders FC will be entering MLS next year, which means we'll be having another expansion draft to give Seattle a few players currently in MLS. Yesterday, MLS came out with the rules for this year's expansion draft, and they are not much different than previous years. The list of protected players is due in November 24th, and the draft will be the 26th. So with those rules set, who is it that the Wizards protect this year?
Well, first off, both Roger Espinoza and Chance Myers seem unlikely to graduate from the Generation ADIDAS program this year, so both will be protected automatically. The other important rule to look at for protection, is the international rule. Teams must make avaiable a number of their internationals minus 3. The Wizards have 4 internationals on their roster; Claudio Lopez, Kevin Souter, Ivan Trujillo, and Carlos Marinelli. Basically the Wizards may make 1 international player available for selection.
So with those rules, who do the Wizards protect?
Here's my pick/guess as to who we'll protect: Claudio Lopez (international), Kevin Souter (international), Ivan Trujillo (international), Davy Arnaud, Jimmy Conrad, Herculez Gomez, Michael Harrington, Jack Jewsbury, Jonathan Leathers, Tyson Wahl, Josh Wolff.
Now, let me break down why I think certain players will be left exposed.
Kevin Hartman - Seattle currently has Kasey Keller on their roster and seem unlikely to go for another keeper especially one of Hartman's salary.
Aaron Hohlbein - Wahl seems to be the center back pairing of choice with Conrad right now. If anyone is taken for KC, he's at the top of the list I think. Would have looked to protect over Trujillo if I could.
Eric Kronberg - Seattle has their starter, and has eyes on the USL Sounders keeper as Keller's back up, no reason to take another goalie.
Carlos Marinelli - The odd international out, but are you really going to be surprised when he's left exposed?
Matt Marquess, Rauwshan McKenzie, Nelson Pizarro, Lance Watson, Michael Kraus, Nelson Pardo - All are developmental players, and as the rules state, if they're taken, they have to be given senior roster contracts, which seems unlikely that Seattle will do that for any of these guys.
Kurt Morsink - Seems to have fallen a bit out of favor, him along with Hohlbein could be favorites to be taken.
Ryan Pore - Pore hasn't produced enough to justify protection.
Abe Thompson - Another guy I would have looked at protecting, had I not had to protect Trujillo, but it was a numbers game that leads to Thompson being exposed.
Kerry Zavagnin - Has stated his intentions to retire, no reason to protect him.
In the end, I think of the exposed players on my list, Aaron Hohlbein has to be the favorite to be taken, along with Kurt Morsink. We'll see how close my list is to the real list in November.