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Roundtable: Who should LAFC protect for Expansion Draft?

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Our contributors weigh in with their lists.

MLS: LAFC Culinary Tour Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Next week, Nashville SC and Inter Miami will hold the latest edition of the MLS Expansion Draft, and Los Angeles Football Club are in the running to lose a player.

Actually, it’s quite likely the team will lose a player, if there’s no trade made to prevent a pick, which is what happened last year with FC Cincinnati to prevent them from picking Steven Beitashour.

LAFC know the benefits of the expansion draft, having used it to pick up Tyler Miller, Latif Blessing, Marco Ureña, and flipping two other picks to get Laurent Ciman. But now they’re on the other side, and they’ll need to strategically create lists to protect 12 players they can’t stand to lose, and hope for the best on the others.

Bearing in mind caveats like unknown contract situations and possible players who would perhaps want to move on (who would want that?!), Angels on Parade contributors got together and figured out how we would create Expansion Draft protection lists.

Ryan Goodwin’s list:

Protect list

  • Eduard Atuesta
  • Tristan Blackmon
  • Latif Blessing
  • Adama Diomande
  • Mark-Anthony Kaye
  • Lee Nguyen
  • Brian Rodriguez
  • Diego Rossi
  • Eddie Segura
  • Pablo Sisniega
  • Carlos Vela
  • Walker Zimmerman

Explanation: My list actually ended up being easier than I thought. Since you are only able to protect 12 players, most of the list picks itself. LAFC have arguably the best starting XI in the league, and most of the starters are of an age where they would be valuable and you would want to protect. Also, even if there were players you were fine with losing, most you would want to do so by either selling or trading them for some compensation.

For my list there were three main starters I left unprotected: Jordan Harvey, Steven Beitashour and Tyler Miller. With Harvey and Beitashour, this was mostly about age, and the fact that I gambled even with a draft by Nashville and Miami both defenders cannot be taken. I probably would not have allowed both to remain unprotected at the start of the season, but Tristan Blackmon’s growth and development made me put him on the keep list. For the goalies, age isn’t as much of an issue, although Sisniega is very young. I just think Sisniega is the more talented of the two, and I would be more ok with Tyler Miller leaving the team than with him. The one other player I protected that I considered leaving off the list was Lee Nguyen. He’s also an older player like Harvey and Beitashour. I kept Nguyen because I think he’s a slightly better player than either of them, and you can never have enough depth in central midfield.

Patrick Stoll’s list:

  • Sisniega
  • Zimmerman
  • Segura
  • Blessing
  • Atuesta
  • Blackmon
  • Rossi
  • Vela
  • Rodriguez
  • Kaye
  • Diomande
  • A. Perez

Grant Dowling’s list:

  • Sisniega
  • Zimmerman
  • Segura
  • Blessing
  • Atuesta
  • Nguyen
  • Rossi
  • Vela
  • Rodriguez
  • Kaye
  • Diomande
  • Blackmon

Joshua Cacho’s list:

  • Carlos Vela
  • Diego Rossi
  • Brian Rodriguez
  • Adama Diomande
  • Mark-Anthony Kaye
  • Latif Blessing
  • Eduard Atuesta
  • Walker Zimmerman
  • Eddie Segura
  • Diego Palacios
  • Tristan Blackmon
  • Lee Nguyen

Explanation: The majority of my selection is probably self explanatory given upcoming CCL play. I did omit protecting a goalkeeper, as I did not feel either Miller or Sisniega cemented themselves as undroppable at this point.

Alicia Rodriguez’s list:

  • Vela
  • Rossi
  • Rodriguez
  • Atuesta
  • Kaye
  • Blessing
  • Zimmerman
  • Segura
  • Palacios
  • Blackmon
  • Sisniega
  • Diomande

Explanation: All of our lists are pretty similar, with a good eight players quite obvious. Beyond that, LAFC beat out Barcelona to sign Palacios, they are not going to leave him unprotected, while the emergence of Blackmon this year means the aging Harvey and Beitashour are almost certainly going to be unprotected, and probably the same for El-Munir (who could be a candidate for actual selection in the expansion draft). I think Nguyen and Miller would be the biggest candidates for selection, with the team maybe not being thrilled to lose either one but willing to live with it.

What do you think? Leave a comment below!