So with MLS Cup on Sunday the expansion draft is right around the corner. The Montreal Impact are joining our little soccer league to become the 19th MLS team and some of our clubs are going to lose players. Last year, Dallas lost both Atiba Harris and Dax McCarty in a poorly executed expansion draft, but this year should be a little more simple.
Here's the skinny:
There will be 10 rounds so 10 players chosen from 18 teams. Once a team has a player chosen, they are done. Teams must protect the amount of internationals on their roster minus three and you'll notice the homegrowns/Generation Adidas players are missing because they are automatically protected.
The rules are pick 11 players to protect, with at least five internationals chosen. A special thanks goes out to Sidereal from Sounder At Heart for helping make this nifty little poll for us.
My picks and explanation after the jump
So here are my 2011 Expansion draft picks:
1. David Ferreira(I)- He's the most important player on this team and would be an absolutely detrimental loss. You have to protect him and you don't even think about it.
2. Brek Shea- The Face of the Franchise. You're going to make a lot of money off him. Another one that is obvious.
3. Fabian Castillo(I)- One of the great hopes of the future. You spent a ton of money on him, he's a low salary cap hit and a future star.
4. Marvin Chavez(I)- One of the best signings of the Schellas Hyndman era. A fantastic right winger who, when healthy and fit, can be one of the most dangerous and unpredictable attackers in the league.
5. Ugo Ihemelu- Signed a new contract earlier this season, one of the back line cornerstones. He's won an MLS Cup and is one spot on the field that you won't even think about for the long term.
6. George John- Probably won't be back in 2012 as he is sold to England, but leaving him unprotected would mean missing out on that money/allocation and you know that won't happen. He will be protected for sure.
7. Zach Loyd- The Oklahoman had a great season at right back for FC Dallas. Another guy you expect to be here for a long, long time. Should be locked up to an upgraded contract in 2012. Will be interesting to see if he is groomed for another position or stays at right back.
8. Andrew Jacobson- Had a breakout first half of 2011 that was derailed by an injury that never really healed. Had surgery in California last week and should be good to go in 2012. When he was on in the central midfield position, Dallas was almost unbeatable. Locked up to a new contract as well.
9. Jair Benitez-The Colombian left back has his brain freezes, but the fact remains that he's still a top-half left back in MLS. They signed him to a new contract this year so it's highly unlikely that he gets left exposed and he's another position you like not having to worry about in the coming years.
10. Kevin Hartman- The only reason you wouldn't protect Hartman is if you don't think Montreal would select a goalkeeper that would be 38 next year, but it's really not much of a question to protect Kevin. He should be the keeper for at least two more years in Frisco.
The final spot
Here's where it gets sticky...the candidates for protection here would be Daniel Cruz, Jackson, Bruno Guarda, Jeremy Hall, Daniel Hernandez, Maicon Santos, Bobby Warshaw and Ricardo Villar. My choice...
11. Maicon Santos- I might catch some heat for this one, but out of all those guys, Maicon Santos is the one I keep. You can't afford to lose another forward right now and while Maicon struggled to endear himself to fans after a less than impressive stint here I think there's enough to keep him for the future. Good forwards at low(ish) salaries are hard to find and I think Santos is the most likely player out of that group to get chosen(which is what matters).
If Jackson gets chosen it would be a small loss, though I think he does more to hurt the offense than help it, while a player like Bobby Warshaw would be a big loss. Out of that group, however, I don't think anyone is really a huge candidate for selection and I think Dallas could escape this draft without having a player chosen.
Who are you protecting with that 11th spot and why?