Los Angeles Football Club will participate in the 2017 MLS Expansion Draft on Tuesday morning, and we’ll find out the next phase in the new team’s roster building project then. Until then, we can speculate about what they will do.
Some reports indicate LAFC will be using the Expansion Draft to flip players for other players or assets, something that makes complete sense and is bound to happen to some extent. Will they opt to take any players to keep? We’ll see, but here are some potential targets for the Expansion Draft. Overall, you can see with the initial group that the profile I’m looking at is first and foremost experienced domestic players. There are a couple exceptions, but LAFC is most likely going to try and keep their powder dry regarding international slots and will therefore probably not take five internationals to keep.
Outfield players to consider
- Hector Jimenez (Columbus Crew SC), a Southern California product, and versatile, playing midfield and fullback extensively in his MLS career
- Josh Williams (Crew), an experienced defender, able to play both center back and fullback, and would be terrific depth
- Miguel Ibarra (Minnesota United), another Southern California native, and someone who Minnesota clearly wants to get rid of. There is a very real question of whether he was just not in the right spot with Adrian Heath, or if he just is not as good as we thought he was a few years ago
- Sean Okoli (New York City FC), a forward who would be good depth, although he’s never gotten an outstanding run in MLS
- Mike Grella (New York Red Bulls), a dynamic midfielder, Grella is very intriguing but he is coming off a season where a knee injury put him out of commission almost the whole way. Can he come back strong?
- Connor Lade (New York Red Bulls), the littlest guy on the pitch most of the time, Lade has been a good servant for his local team but they seem ready to move on. He is probably better than most folks think
- Servando Carrasco (Orlando City), a holding midfielder, never flashy, definitely depth, but someone who does a job on occasion better than most in MLS. He can’t be a starter but he would be a decent squad player
- Dillon Powers (Orlando City), a box-to-box midfielder who’s only played on teams where attacking has been mostly an afterthought. Can he be fully unlocked with a coherent team around him?
- Maurice Edu (Philadelphia Union), totally possible that Edu is totally crocked after two years where he essentially was continually hurt. But if there’s a chance he could still play, he might be worth a flyer — would be a player with a much higher ceiling than most of the rest on this list
- Richie Marquez (Union), another center back depth piece, he’s had uneven form since joining Philly, he’s also a local native and could yet prove to have more growth in his game
- Lawrence Olum (Portland Timbers), another guy who gets zero plaudits, but Olum has continually been a go-to option for two good teams. Capable of playing both holding mid and center back, he would be better as depth but stays healthy and so has shown he can be a starter
- Harry Shipp (Seattle Sounders), a dynamic midfielder who has never been a great fit on any of the three teams he’s been on. Seems pretty likely that he’s a spot starter at this point in his MLS career
- Saad Abdul-Salaam (Sporting Kansas City), a good youngish right back. May complicate things if Omar Gaber plays right back for LAFC, but Abdul-Salaam could also be good trade bait for LAFC around the league
- Raheem Edwards (Toronto FC), a wide midfielder/defender with dazzling skills, Edwards is very young but would take up an international slot
- Christian Bolanos and Cristian Techera (Vancouver Whitecaps), both good attacking pieces in MLS terms, and the kind of players who would take up international slots but would still be intriguing for LAFC to pull the trigger on, given their track record in MLS
- Pierre Da Silva (Orlando City), Orlando City fans are so up in arms about him being unprotected that LAFC may want to take him to trade back to the Lions
A glut of goalkeepers
There are SO MANY goalkeepers available. Several teams left three goalkeepers, or their entire compliment in 2017, available for selection. Of course, it’s unlikely LAFC will take more than one to keep, but I think there’s a solid chance they will take one in the Expansion Draft.
Here’s a list of all the GKs available, not including Free Agents: Jorge Bava, Matt Lampson, John Berner, Brad Stuver, Steve Clark, Travis Worra, Eric Klenofsky, Calle Brown, Clement Diop, Brian Rowe, Jon Kempin, Alex Kapp, Patrick McLain, Matt Turner, Eirik Johansen, Andre Rawls, John McCarthy, Jake McGuire, Jeff Attinella, Jake Gleeson, Kendall McIntosh, Connor Sparrow, Matt VanOekel, Matt Bersano, Bryan Meredith, Tyler Miller, Andrew Dykstra, Alex Tambakis, Adrian Zendejas, Clint Irwin, Mark Pais, David Ousted, Spencer Richey
If LAFC are looking for a starter here, Clint Irwin, Jeff Attinella, David Ousted and Steve Clark are the standouts available. None are perfect, but they are all good enough to help lead a team into the playoffs. We’ll see!
What do you think? Leave a comment below!