About a month ago, I looked at LAFC’s roster ahead of the 2018 MLS Expansion Draft and gave my take on who LAFC should protect from the potential of getting picked by FC Cincinnati.
We’re just a day away now from the Expansion Draft taking place, and it’s almost time for teams to publish their lists of who is protected and who is not. Plus, since the first iteration of this article, we have had LAFC announce their 2018 offseason moves, including some declined options and players out of contract. That makes this protected list-to-be look a little different.
To refresh, LAFC is allowed by MLS to protect 11 players from the Expansion Draft, including Senior, Supplemental, and Reserve rosters. Homegrown and Generation Adidas players are also exempt, and do not have to be protected, so Joao Moutinho is already squared away.
LAFC can have a maximum of one player picked by Cincy, who has five picks in the draft. MLS is treating this draft as a part two of LAFC’s draft, so Seattle, Kansas City, San Jose, Columbus, and Toronto do not have to worry about losing anyone, and LAFC has a bit of a higher chance of someone getting picked.
In addition, LAFC’s roster looks a bit different now than it did a couple weeks ago. They declined contract options on goalkeepers Charlie Lyon and Quillan Roberts, midfielders Nicolas Czornomaz, Calum Mallace and James Murphy, and forwards Steeve Saint-Duc and Marco Ureña.
Meanwhile, LAFC exercised options on their starting goalkeeper Tyler Miller, midfielders Mark-Anthony Kaye, Lee Nguyen and Josh Perez, and forward Shaft Brewer, Jr. Benny Feilhaber, Jordan Harvey, Walker Zimmerman, and Dejan Jakovic are also out of contract.
Lastly, LAFC triggered Eduard Atuesta’s purchase option, so he will be back. On the other hand, Luis Lopez, Aaron Kovar, and Danilo Silva will all return to their respective clubs from loan.
This means LAFC’s roster currently looks like this:
Goalkeeper (1): Tyler Miller
Defenders (4): Steven Beitashour, Tristan Blackmon, Joao Moutinho, Eddie Segura
Midfielders (5): Eduard Atuesta, Andre Horta, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Lee Nguyen, Josh Perez
Forwards (6): Latif Blessing, Shaft Brewer, Jr., Adama Diomande, Christian Ramirez, Diego Rossi, Carlos Vela
That is a roster of 16 players. One of them, Moutinho, is automatically exempt. So LAFC has 15 players to pick from, 11 of which will be protected.
Designated Players are not automatically protected, so LAFC will use three of their slots on Carlos Vela, Diego Rossi, and Andre Horta.
From here, LAFC should just pick the players who are the most important to the team and hardest to replace.
They currently only have one goalkeeper on the roster, and he was the starter for the whole season. Tyler Miller will be protected.
LAFC should also go ahead and protect Latif Blessing, who they took in the Expansion Draft last year and proved to be a game-changer for them when they need him. Adama Diomande and Christian Ramirez should also be protected for what they bring to the attacking side of the team. This basically means that all of LAFC’s forwards except for Shaft Brewer, Jr. are protected.
This brings us to a total of seven protected players out of 11. Moving to the midfield, LAFC will certainly protect Mark-Anthony Kaye, who was arguably LAFC’s most important player and an invaluable part of the midfield. Eduard Atuesta and Lee Nguyen will also be in that group of protected players.
With one slot to go to protect from the Expansion Draft, LAFC has to make a choice. There are four more players to look at, being Steven Beitashour, Tristan Blackmon, Josh Perez, plus any out of contract players they want to protect, like Walker Zimmerman.
This means that the following players are the 11 that LAFC should protect:
- Eduard Atuesta (Midfielder)
- Latif Blessing (Forward)
- Adama Diomande (Forward)
- Andre Horta (Midfielder)
- Mark-Anthony Kaye (Midfielder)
- Tyler Miller (Goalkeeper)
- Lee Nguyen (Midfielder)
- Walker Zimmerman (Defender)
- Christian Ramirez (Forward)
- Diego Rossi (Forward)
- Carlos Vela (Forward)
And here are the four players available for the Expansion Draft:
- Steven Beitashour (Defender)
- Tristan Blackmon (Defender)
- Shaft Brewer, Jr. (Defender)
- Eddie Segura (Defender)
The 2018 Expansion Draft will take place on Tuesday.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!