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Expansion Draft Watchlist: Were there any changes following the playoff exit?

We know the Expansion Draft isn’t far away.

MLS: Playoffs-Seattle Sounders FC at FC Dallas Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

A little over a month ago we revealed our first look at who we think FC Dallas will protect in the upcoming Expansion Draft.

Now that the regular season and playoffs are done, it is to once again revisit that list and see if there are any updates worth making. As you might expect, there would be at least one change.

Projected Protected list:

  • Kellyn Acosta
  • Tesho Akindele
  • Michael Barrios
  • Mauro Diaz (DP)
  • Maynor Figueroa
  • Carlos Gruezo (DP)
  • Matt Hedges
  • Ryan Hollingshead
  • Maxi Urruti
  • Walker Zimmerman
  • Victor Ulloa
Exempt list:
  • Coy Craft (Homegrown)
  • Jesse Gonzalez (Homegrown)
  • Aaron Guillen (Homegrown)
  • Moises Hernandez (Homegrown)
  • Paxton Pomykal (Homegrown)

Status of HGPs

I mentioned in the previous post that a lot could change depending on the Homegrown status of players like Victor Ulloa and Jesse Gonzalez. We were able to learn that Ulloa’s HGP status is no long the same as it once was, meaning he isn’t exempt like other HGPs. Similar to how we expect Kellyn Acosta to be handled in this as well.

Because of that, I’ve moved Ulloa in to the protection list and have moved Aubrey David off the list. As much as I like the Trinidadian fullback, I think his loan status makes it tricky for FCD to gamble on protecting him over a guy that has been fairly valuable to the club in Ulloa.

Don’t save a goalkeeper...

A lot of the discussion last time centered around Chris Seitz. My projection has us protecting Figueroa and not Seitz, just like before. Some will question why you don’t protect a starting keeper as good as Seitz.

Keepers have not been a huge deal in previous drafts outside of Orlando snagging Donovan Ricketts in 2014, Vancouver getting Joe Cannon in 2010, Philadelphia taking Brad Knighton in 2009, and Toronto taking Will Hesmer in 2006.

With that said, I don’t see either Atlanta or Minnesota taking a keeper with one of their five selections. Both teams will likely go for players that can start quickly. Atlanta already has one keeper on the books as it is and I would imagine Minnesota will look elsewhere for one. It should also help knowing that Seitz will likely be one of the more expensive keepers in the potential available pool of keepers.

And about Figueroa

I know a lot of you are saying, “Figueroa is old, they won’t select him”. And in large part you are correct. One thing I like to do with lists like this is base a little off of history. In years past, there is always at least one head scratcher or a veteran that probably shouldn’t be protected that is.

In 2014 we protected Michel. 2011 saw us protect guys like Andrew Jacobson and Jackson (terrible example given how bad that team was). And we all know that in 2010 we protected guys like Eric Alexander and Marvin Chavez over someone named Dax McCarty.

You get the picture. Figueroa showed well enough down the stretch to me that he will be this year’s pick that may not make total sense. And in all honesty, I’m fine with that. If he is the only one that doesn’t make sense, it should mean that Fernando Clavijo and Oscar Pareja did a pretty decent job at this list.

Another thought on Castillo

I’m also keeping Tesho Akindele in the mix even though there is still that lingering question about whether or not to protect Fabian Castillo.

Despite Castillo’s situation in Turkey, I think we all feel he isn’t coming back anytime soon and protecting him would be a little bit of a waste.

The only way I see him protected is if it is the only way FCD can get that transfer money, which is a topic we may circle back to another day during this offseason.


Remember, both teams have five picks and there will be a lot to choice from around the league. While our players did complete an impressive double this season in winning the Supporters’ Shield and the US Open Cup, we shouldn’t get too worked up over one guy or the other. If we retain that 11 that I am projecting to protect, those HGPs and only lose out on a guy like Zach Loyd in this draft, I think we’ll be okay.

With 19 other clubs in the same boat and only ten total picks, I still feel pretty confident about FCD coming out of this without a blemish.