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Expansion Draft Wish List: Colorado Rapids

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Who could be available for Atlanta United to pick?

MLS: SuperDraft Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Previous Installments:

Introduction

Chicago Fire


Next up in our Expansion Draft Wish List series is examining the Colorado Rapids. Much like the Fire, they have been known as a train wreck in MLS for the last several seasons. That is until 2016 where they’ve shocked everyone and become contenders.

With the additions of Tim Howard and Jermaine Jones, the Rapids have transformed into a solid team, currently sitting in fourth place in the West. They’ve added talent in the past year making them deeper and better.

With that depth comes the possibility that some good players are left unprotected in this year’s Expansion Draft. With that in mind. Here’s our projected protected and available player lists:

Projected Protected List

  1. Shkelzen Gashi
  2. Tim Howard
  3. Jermaine Jones
  4. Dillon Powers
  5. Axel Sjoberg
  6. Kevin Doyle
  7. Sam Cronin
  8. Dominique Badji
  9. Meikel Williams
  10. Eric Miller*
  11. Marlon Hairston*

*-currently designated as a Generation Adidas player but expected to graduate at end of season

Available Players

  1. Michael Azira
  2. John Berner
  3. Marc Burch
  4. Bobby Burling
  5. Caleb Calvert
  6. Dennis Castillo
  7. Conor Doyle
  8. Joseph Greenspan
  9. Sebastien Le Toux
  10. Zac MacMath
  11. Marco Pappa
  12. Zach Pfeffer
  13. Sean St. Ledger
  14. Jared Watts

Potential Targets for Atlanta United: Zac MacMath, Marco Pappa, Bobby Burling

Jason: I’ve been on the MacMath to Atlanta train since the Tim Howard signing was announced. There will be some other goalkeeper options available in the Expansion Draft or through other means, but MacMath will be at or near the top of the list. His play this season, knowing that Howard would take his spot, solidified him as a starting goalkeeper in MLS.

Bobby Burling is a solid center back in MLS with a good bit of experience. He might not be an everyday starter, but he can be a very good third center back who can push for starts.

Marco Pappa would be a riskier pick for me because I think he would primarily be used off the bench. He seems like more of a luxury type of player that is nice to have, but tough to build an expansion team from scratch around.

Atlanta could opt to look at a player like Jared Watts who is younger and more versatile instead. Watts could benefit from training with Chris McCann, another hard nosed defensive midfielder, and could blossom in a new setting. He’s also played some center back for the Rapids and could provide depth there.

Rob: Like many Atlanta United fans have already stated, Zac MacMath is at or near the top of my potential starting goalkeeper list for the club. With the addition of Tim Howard, MacMath becomes expendable. He would be a perfect addition in the draft and would make for a fine No. 1 keeper in the club’s inaugural season.

I have always been a huge Marco Pappa fan. His technical style is one that I love seeing in players. He has that David Silva type playmaker ability. He can dribble in and out of tight spaces and deliver a pass into small areas. He’s not very apt defensively, but neither are many of the attacking midfielders in the world. If you can put him in a system where you don’t need his defensive abilities, then he is a perfect fit.

Bobby Burling is not a defender I’d have at the top of my wanted list. I would assume there will be more attractive defensive options than him available to both clubs in the draft.