Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Another Look at the Expansion Draft for KC

Tomorrow, Orlando City and New York City FC will both select up to 10 players from the existing 18 MLS teams. Yesterday the protection and exposure lists came out from the teams. Since then, there's been a lot of speculation and a number of mock drafts on who would be taken by the two clubs. Since then, mock drafts have been flowing around. Within those drafts, KC players have generally been taken in most, but not all of them.

Again, here are the players that Sporting KC has left exposed: Claudio Bieler, Jorge Claros, Antonio Dovale, Chrisitan Duke, Andy Gruenebaum, Michael Kafari, Eric Kronberg, Victor Munoz, Lawrence Olum, Jacob Peterson, Soony Saad, Martin Steuble, and Sal Zizzo.

From the different drafts I found I've seen Bieler, Claros, Gruenebaum, Saad, and Zizzo all taken. So here's a look at my thoughts on those five plus the rest of KC's exposed players and the likelihood of them being taken.

Claudio Bieler - Was selected number one overall in the draft done by the Columbus Crew's digital team. Of the two teams, Bieler would probably be more likely to go to Orlando than New York. With New York already having two DP slots filled, I doubt they'd potentially use the third on Bieler. As for Orlando, I still don't think them taking Bieler is likely. They're certainly still look for strikers, but I'm not sure that Bieler is the target that they'd look at in the draft.

Jorge Claros - If his salary on the Players Union site is accurate ($90,000), this is certainly an appealing selection. He's a World Cup veteran and still near the peak of his playing level. He's probably the most surprising available of KC's exposed players. With how much time KC spent looking to bring him in and the issues that KC had at the deep midfield position in 2014 it's a surprise that he's exposed. I could certainly see him being selected.

Andy Gruenebaum - To be fair, the draft that had Orlando taking him was done before the news that KC had not picked up his option. Still I'm not sure that either club spends a pick on Gruenebaum. They both have the ability to renegotiate the contract with players, but with some of the goalkeeping talent available, I'm not sure either team would take the chance on a player who's missed plenty of time over the last two seasons with injury.

Soony Saad - This is a pick for rights. With Saad set to leave MLS for Thailand, if either team picked him up, it'd be in the hope of him returning to MLS and that team holding his MLS rights. Saad did was a decent goalscorer for Kansas City, but could never establish himself as a consistent scorer in his four years in KC. Based on his experience before signing with MLS, I would assume that Saad would look to move to Europe from Thailand before trying his luck in MLS again, unless a good offer came along. But with him still being young, it'd be a good late round flyer for a team.

Sal Zizzo - Another player that is no longer on KC's roster. The draft with him taken talked up his wing play in Orlando's system. While he wasn't a horrible winger for Kansas City, he didn't really provide enough to the offense as a winger in KC's system for me to think he'd be taken in the expansion draft.

As for the rest of the players, here's a quick look (I'm combining a few).

Antonio Dovale - Has already returned to Spain, I think his return to MLS, while possible, is not likely to happen.

Chrisitan Duke, Michael Kafari, and Victor Munoz - Have played a grand total of 36 competitive minutes for KC, none of these three are being taken.

Eric Kronberg - Kronberg had been a career back up until this year when he was given the starting job with Kansas City. He didn't have a great showing, making mistakes on when to come off his line and when to stay home. Like Gruenebaum, with the number of keepers available in the draft I can't see Kronberg being taken.

Lawrence Olum - Like Saad, Olum's intentions to leave have already been made known and KC has already terminated his contract. So this would only be for Olum's MLS rights. But unlike Saad, youth is not on Olum's side so taking a flyer on him in case he returns seems unlikely.

Jacob Peterson - A work horse that has played everywhere in Vermes' system it seems, Peterson is out of contract so the team would be drafting his MLS rights. While Peterson has seen some success here, he's been a role player throughout his career. This could make him attractive to Orlando or New York as a veteran presence.

Martin Steuble - The Swiss-Filipino played minimal minutes for Kansas City this year. I think the lack of time and familiarity with him will probably keep him from being taken.

And while KC may lose two players, there's still the potential of them picking up a player tomorrow via their "future considerations" from the Aurelien Collin trade. The speculation on the future considerations immediately turned to tomorrow's expansion draft, especially after Vermes said the considerations would be a player. There are really two ways that this could break down. The first is that one of the 10 players that Orlando selects tomorrow will immediately be on their way to Kansas City. A lot of that speculation has centered around Philadelphia goalkeeper, Zac MacMath, who was originally part of the CJ Sapong trade rumor when it came up on Sunday night. The thing that might make that unlikely is Philadelphia's trade that sent Amobi Okugo to Orlando as well. Part of that deal could have been a "handshake agreement" to not take any of their players in the expansion draft. There are other goalkeepers available that KC could look at if they wanted to grab a keeper this way, the likes of Raul Fernandez (who I doubt KC takes as he'll miss close to a 3rd of the season while on national team duty), Jeff Attinella, or even Troy Perkins.

The other possibility is that KC would have one of their players selected by Orlando and the considerations would be Orlando just returning that player to us at the end of the draft. That would effectively allow KC to protect 13 players. The good news is we'll all be able to listen in to the draft.

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