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Why FC Dallas shouldn’t stress over the 2020 Expansion Draft

Given the rules in place and the number of Homegrown players, FC Dallas won’t have too many players left unprotected next week.

MLS: Inter Miami CF at FC Dallas Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The offseason is about to get rolling in a big way next week once MLS Cup wraps up in Columbus tomorrow. Up first will be a period of time on Monday where teams can make trades and get things set before Tuesday’s Expansion Draft with newcomers Austin FC.

Austin FC will be able to select five players from 16 MLS clubs (the other ten are exempt due to losing a player in last year’s Expansion Draft with Inter Miami and Nashville SC). FC Dallas will have to protect 12 players from their senior, supplemental, and reserve rosters.

Note: players who did not get contracts renewed this past week by the club will still be listed in this piece given that their deals technically run through the end of December. Austin could still pick one of them if they are unprotected.

Homegrown and GA players

Based off the rules for this draft, FC Dallas will be able to protect all Homegrown (under the age of 25) and Generation adidas players who have not graduated from their contracts at the end of the 2020 season. Just looking at that rule alone, you can go ahead and list the following players are exempt from needing to be protected:

  1. Francis Atauhene (GA)
  2. Edwin Cerrillo
  3. Justin Che
  4. Jesus Ferreira
  5. Eddie Munjoma
  6. John Nelson (GA)
  7. Ricardo Pepi
  8. Paxton Pomykal
  9. Bryan Reynolds
  10. Thomas Roberts
  11. Dante Sealy
  12. Brandon Servania
  13. Tanner Tessmann
  14. Ema Twumasi (GA)

Note: The GA players listed here all could be graduated from the program after this year. I would imagine both Atauhene and Twumasi are almost certain to be graduated out of that program.

Who actually needs protection

From that 14(!) above, just leaves FC Dallas to select 12 players to protect. Here is who I would suggest protecting based on what is left on the roster and how I see the club actually handling this process:

  1. Bryan Acosta (DP)
  2. Bressan*
  3. Michael Barrios
  4. Nkosi Burgess
  5. Matt Hedges
  6. Ryan Hollingshead
  7. Franco Jara (DP)
  8. Jimmy Maurer
  9. Phelipe*
  10. Fafa Picault
  11. Andres Ricaurte
  12. Thiago Santos

* Both Bressan and Phelipe are in the process of working out a new contract with the club. In Phelipe’s case, there could be a stipulation based off his loan that requires the club to protect him for things like this.

Why we shouldn’t stress over this

So after the 12 protected and the 14 that are exempted from needing protection, that just leaves a small few to be left unprotected.

  1. Callum Montgomery
  2. Santiago Mosquera
  3. Reto Ziegler
  4. Kyle Zobeck

Think about that for a hot second. Just four potential players, maybe five should some of the GA players earn a graduation from the program early. But still, as much as we’d want to debate a protection list like in days of old, there really isn’t a need to grovel over who should or who shouldn’t be protected this time around.

I know some of you will say that the club shouldn’t look to protect guys like Acosta or Jara due to their larger salaries. And while Designated Players don’t have to be protected here, to me it seems a bit silly to leave them unprotected in place of a guy that you aren’t bringing back, or even over a third-string keeper.