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LAFC’s official protected list for 2019 expansion draft revealed

Based on expansion draft strategy, no surprises here.

Seattle Sounders v Los Angeles FC - Western Conference Final
Lee Nguyen is one of the players who could be selected in the expansion draft.
Photo by Shaun Clark/Getty Images

MLS revealed the full pool of players eligible for the 2019 Expansion Draft on Saturday, and that included Los Angeles Football Club players.

Teams could protect 12 players from selection, plus Homegrown signings and Generation adidas players. LAFC had none of the latter two categories, so they opted to protect 12 players, with the rest of the roster up for selection. This year’s expansion draft, for Inter Miami and Nashville SC, will see 10 players total across the league selected, and teams can lose no more than one player, so LAFC could see a maximum of one player leave, or theoretically, none at all.

Here’s LAFC’s protected list (aka, not eligible to be taken in the expansion draft):

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

There are no surprises here. Teams don’t necessarily pick their best 12 players, they pick the players who would be most attractive in the expansion draft that they can’t stand to lose. So if you’re wondering how Palacios got on here despite barely playing, it’s because LAFC paid a transfer fee in the summer and beat out FC Barcelona to get him. Any smart expansion team would have snapped him up in an instant if he was eligible.

Most of the rest are pretty obvious. The other big question was about GK. After a report emerged that Tyler Miller might not return next year, the decision was obvious to leave him unprotected. Some may have also left the other goalkeeper who played, Pablo Sisniega, available as well, since LAFC could lose only one player total, but the chance Sisniega would be taken and leave LAFC scrambling to get a new starter and backup, potentially, means protecting him makes sense.

Now, here’s who is eligible to be selected in the expansion draft from LAFC:

  • Tyler Miller
  • Lee Nguyen
  • Steven Beitashour
  • Jordan Harvey
  • Mohamed El-Munir
  • Lamar Batista
  • Danilo Silva
  • Dejan Jakovic
  • Phillip Ejimadu
  • Alejandro Guido
  • Adrien Perez
  • Javi Perez
  • Josh Perez
  • Peter-Lee Vassell
  • Rodolfo Zelaya

Of that list, the most attractive players and most likely to be selected are Miller, Nguyen, Beitashour and El-Munir. If Miami or Nashville want to be really cute, maybe Josh Perez or Peter-Lee Vassell but the expansion draft is for MLS experience, not to take flyers on young players.

Pending handshake trades with both sides, I think it’s almost certain an LAFC player is taken, and would be surprised if two teams pass on someone from the Supporters’ Shield holders altogether. Which player will get the nod? We’ll find out when the expansion draft happens on Tuesday.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.