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Expansion Draft Wish List: New York City FC

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Will Patrick Vieira have some tough decisions ahead of him?

MLS: SuperDraft Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Previous Installments:

Introduction

Chicago Fire

Colorado Rapids

Columbus Crew

D.C. United

FC Dallas

Houston Dynamo

LA Galaxy

Montreal Impact

New England Revolution


Last season Major League Soccer added two new teams to the family, much like they will be next season. And just like Atlanta United, New York City FC was built from the ground up in a matter of a few years. After a poor inaugural season and a manager change, the blue half of New York have fulfilled the potential of their star-studded roster and have clinched the first playoff berth in franchise history.

As a new franchise, they are at a bit of a disadvantage when it it comes to protecting players. They only have one player on their entire roster, Generation adidas member Jack Harrision, who is exempt from the draft. This should make for some tasty available options from NYCFC.

Here’s how we see both of their lists shaping up:

Projected Protected List

  1. RJ Allen
  2. Federico Bravo
  3. Frederic Brillant
  4. Maxime Chanot
  5. Ronald Matarrita
  6. Tommy McNamara
  7. Jefferson Mena
  8. Steven Mendoza
  9. Andrea Pirlo
  10. Khiry Shelton
  11. David Villa

Exempt List

  1. Jack Harrison (Generation adidas)

Available Players

  1. Mehdi Ballouchy
  2. Connor Brandt
  3. Mix Diskerud
  4. Shannon Gomez
  5. Jason Hernandez
  6. Andoni Iraola
  7. Eirik Johansen
  8. Frank Lampard
  9. Mikey Lopez
  10. Diego Martinez
  11. Andre Rawls
  12. Josh Saunders
  13. Tony Taylor
  14. Ethan White

Potential Targets for Atlanta United: Mix Diskerud, Mikey Lopez, Tony Taylor, Ethan White

Jason: Mix Diskerud is the biggest risk/reward pick that could be available in this year’s Expansion Draft. Extremely talented, but mostly unproductive in his time with NYCFC, what would Atlanta be able to expect out of him. At his best, he is a national team level talent that a new team could build around. He also comes with a heavy price tag, unless Atlanta can negotiate that down with him after his selection, which presents another level of risk. Personally, I would stay away from the risk.

Mikey Lopez, Tony Taylor, and Ethan White are all possibilities for selection that could be useful. Lopez is a central midfielder who has been used mostly off the bench this season. Taylor was a highly regarded young talent who saw his development stagnate a bit through poor club choices and injuries. He can play anywhere on the front line. White is a 25-year-old center back who has nearly 100 games played in the league since signing with D.C. United in 2011. He’s a possible starter, or next up on the depth chart.

Another wild card is young Argentine left back Diego Martinez. He has only played a few times for NYCFC this season since signing from River Plate, but he could be a known player to Tata Martino and his coaching staff.

Rob: Anyone who knows me knows I love Mix Diskerud. Even with his horrific season I think he’s still a quality player who could thrive in the right environment. NYCFC is not the right environment as we found out in 2016. A new team that believes in him and can give him a role he fits into could rejuvenate his career.

Does Atlanta United like him for their system? If the answer is yes, they should pick him and try to re-negotiate his contract. $750,000 is not something Atlanta (or any other team) is going to pay him and it’s not a salary he deserves. However, Mix is a $250-$300k player in this league.

If they want to go the less risky route and pick up something for the future, Mikey Lopez is another low key very good option. At only 23 years old, he’s been a member of the U.S. U-20 team in the past and has been a consistent performer, mainly off the bench, in MLS for the past few years. He seems like the type of young player who could thrive if given the chance to become a full-time starter for a team. A box-to-box midfielder with adequate technical quality. He’s someone I’d seriously consider for a pick.

Ethan White has always been a defender that fans have thought would break out at every club he’s been at. However, it just hasn’t happened yet. Could Atlanta finally be his coming out party? He seems like a risky pick with very little track record and only five picks in the draft available.

Tony Taylor: Pass.