The Expansion Draft has been an Major League Soccer staple since 1998. It allows brand new franchises a chance to fill their roster with talent from the other clubs. Last year it allowed Orlando City and New York City FC to pick 10 players each to begin their MLS odyssey. According to Yahoo!, MLS are discussing the possibility of eliminating the Expansion Draft entirely before Atlanta United FC enters the league in 2017.
If the Expansion Draft is done away with AUFC would be required to find other means of acquiring talent to fill their roster for their inaugural season. According to the report, the league would increase allocation money and foreign slots for incoming Expansion clubs.
What does this mean for Atlanta United?
Frankly, we don't know. If this plan of eliminating the Expansion Draft comes to fruition, Atlanta United will be in unknown territory. They'd become the first club to ever not have it as a tool to build their roster. Extra allocation money and international slots would be helpful for the club while building their roster, but it remains to be seen if it would be an advantage or a disadvantage when doing it from scratch.
A considerable amount of allocation and a drastic number of international slots would be needed to offset the loss of 10 players. However, players picked in the Expansion Draft are usually nothing more than role players in the end. This new change shouldn't hurt Atlanta United and in fact could help them as they'd hold valuable trading chips. International slots and allocation money are both desirable assets in MLS and the club could flip some of their surplus for proven players of their choosing instead of the watered down talent pool of the Expansion Draft.
How exactly this all plays out is a mystery right now. Until we know the full details all we can do is speculate. Stay tuned for more information and how this affects AUFC's first season in MLS.