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FC Dallas will have some tough decisions for their Expansion Draft protection list

While some of the rules in place should help FC Dallas out a good bit, there will still be a tough decision or two to make.

MLS: FC Dallas at New York Red Bulls Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday, FC Dallas and the rest of Major League Soccer will reveal their (what feels like an annual thing) Expansion Draft protection lists for Friday’s Expansion Draft with newcomers St. Louis SC.

FC Dallas will have to protect 12 players for Friday’s draft. Thanks to how the roster has been built over the years, a good chunk of the roster will be exempt from this process.

Generation adidas players who have not graduated and Homegrown Players (players 25 years old and under in the year in which the Expansion Draft takes place) on a club’s Roster at the end of the 2022 MLS Season are automatically protected. Clubs do not have to use a protected slot on them.

Yeah, FC Dallas has plenty of those on their roster.

Right off the bat, FC Dallas will be able to automatically protect Antonio Carerra, Edwin Cerrillo, Justin Che (even though he’s on loan), Kalil ElMedhkar, Marco Farfan, Eddie Munjoma, Paxton Pomykal, Beni Redzic, Thomas Roberts, Brandon Servania, Colin Smith, Dante Sealy (another on loan player), and Isaiah Parker (GA).

ElMedhkar and Farfan aren’t traditional HPGs for FC Dallas, but both had HGP contracts with the league, so it should apply here. Ema Twumasi is also listed as a GA on the league’s roster page, but I don’t believe that is still the case, given the contract extension he signed last year. For what it is worth, Twumasi was one of the 12 protected last year.

From there, it should be straightforward to figure out the 12 that need protection. Given the number of international players on the roster, the team will have to protect at least three of them.

Here are the 12 I see being protected:

  1. Paul Arriola
  2. Jesus Ferreira
  3. Matt Hedges
  4. Bernard Kamungo
  5. Jose Martinez
  6. Tsiki Ntsabeleng
  7. Nkosi Tafari
  8. Jader Obrian
  9. Maarten Paes
  10. Ema Twumasi
  11. Alan Velasco
  12. Sebastian Lletget

That leaves the following unprotected:

  1. Facundo Quignon
  2. Franco Jara
  3. Nicky Herandez
  4. Nanu
  5. Lucas Bartlett
  6. Jimmy Maurer
  7. Jose Quinonez

Thoughts, notes and questions:

  1. Ferreira’s HGP status - Last year, he was exempt due to this HGP status, but given that he is on a Designated Player contract now, I would assume that he is no longer exempt like a normal HGP. BUT in the event he does fall under the HGP exemption, I would see him out and place Jose Quinonez in his place.
  2. Leaving some expensive players unprotected - I currently have a couple of guys (Quignon, Jara and Maurer) in the unprotected zone. While Maurer would be a slightly risky one to leave unprotected, the club has a couple of potential HGP keepers waiting in the wings to back up Paes in the coming years. Quignon and Jara are expensive international players, so those feel safe to expose this time around.
  3. Kamungo over Quinonez - This is just a gut or judgment call. I see the club protecting a guy that they have invested a lot in and will want to continue to protect his story with the club going into 2023 over a guy that they might not keep after this season. I know some folks want Quinonez to be transferred to the club outright once his loan ends in December, but he feels like a guy you can expose here.
  4. What about Hernandez? - I know he is out on loan with San Antonio at the moment, but I feel like this will be the start of his way out with the club this winter. Plus, the club appears to value guys like Tsiki more at this point, so why expose a younger guy like that when you can expose someone you are likely to let go?
  5. It probably won’t matter that much - FC Dallas hasn’t had to worry about these expansion drafts in recent years. The last time they had a guy taken was in 2018 when FC Cincinnati took Roland Lamah, a player the club was already willing to let go that offseason. Two years before that, Atlanta United took Zach Loyd, a guy that was about to retire due to injuries. So yeah, unless FCD exposes a core guy in this draft, losing someone on the back end of the roster isn’t the worst.

What do you think of our projections here for the expansion draft? Will it be another year that FC Dallas doesn’t have to sweat this draft? Let’s discuss it below.