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SB Nation Mock MLS Expansion Draft: Atlanta United remain intact

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Five picks eluded the Five Stripes in our simulation.

MLS: LAFC Groundbreaking Ceremony Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

SB Nation has conducted a mock MLS Expansion Draft for Los Angeles FC, the league’s newest team set to begin play in 2018. Much like Atlanta United and Minnesota United, the new guys get to pick five players from around the league that were left unprotected by their clubs.

It was each site’s task to replicate exactly what the real life front offices around MLS are doing right now. Create an exemption list of protected and unprotected players to enter into the draft. The rules are that each team can protect a maximum of 11 players on their roster with Homegrown Players and Generation adidas players being automatically withheld from consideration.

After much deliberation and a last minute roster decision, here is the protected list that the Dirty South Soccer staff compiled:

Protected List

  1. Josef Martinez
  2. Miguel Almiron
  3. Tito Villalba
  4. Julian Gressel
  5. Leandro Gonzalez Pirez
  6. Carlos Carmona
  7. Brandon Vazquez
  8. Michael Parkhurst
  9. Greg Garza
  10. Brad Guzan
  11. Romario Williams

Exempt List

  1. Andrew Carleton (HGP)
  2. Chris Goslin (HGP)
  3. Miles Robinson (GA)

Exposed

  1. Mikey Ambrose
  2. Yamil Asad (Loan Expired)
  3. Alec Kann
  4. Kevin Kratz
  5. Jeff Larentowicz (Negotiating Contract/Free Agent)
  6. Chris McCann
  7. Jacob Peterson
  8. Anton Walkes (Loan Expired)
  9. Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu

The decision process for us was pretty straightforward. Prefer youth and trade value over aging players. That’s why you see players like Brandon Vazquez and Romario Williams, players who might not have been extremely influential in 2017, preferred over veterans like Jacob Peterson or even Jeff Larentowicz.

Our biggest point of contention was whether or not to protect Romario Williams or Alec Kann. We chose to keep Williams because he’s young and seemingly has more trade value coming off a great scoring season in the USL. This is not to devalue Kann’s performance with Atlanta, it’s just that above-average goalkeepers are plentiful in MLS.

Larentowicz’s status is unclear at this point. LA would only be able to draft the rights to negotiate with him, so it’s highly unlikely they’d waste a pick on him. Chris McCann was an easy choice to expose due to his extremely high contract. An expansion team isn’t going to willingly take on that cap hit without trying to get an impact player.

If our list does come to fruition the players with the highest chances of being picked would be Jacob Peterson and Alec Kann. Peterson is an experienced role player who can add value off the bench like he did for Atlanta when he wasn’t hurt, while Kann is now a proven MLS-capable starter who can win you some games.

In SB Nation’s simulation, Angels on Parade, our LAFC blog, didn’t select anyone from Atlanta United. Here’s who they picked.

  1. Alexander Ring (NYCFC)
  2. Romell Quioto (Houston Dynamo)
  3. Will Bruin (Seattle Sounders)
  4. Drew Moor (Toronto FC)
  5. David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes)

To find out their reasoning, head over and read their post.