Expansion Draft Recap

The MLS Expansion draft took place on Tuesday, with Inter Miami and Nashville SC selecting ten players from other MLS sides. Miami took Ben Sweat(D), Alvas Powell(D), Lee Nguyen(M), Luis Argudo(M), and Bryan Meredith(G). Meanwhile, Nashville selected Abu Danladi(F), Zarek Valentin(D), Jalil Anibaba(D), Brandon Vazquez(F), and Jimmy Medranda(D).

First, Miami brought in 28 year old left back Ben Sweat from NYCFC. The Florida native has made 72 appearances over the past three years in New York and can be dangerous going forward, leaving NYC with a goal and 9 assists. He will likely be the starting left back on Miami. Next, Inter took right back Alvas Powell from FC Cincinnati. Although Powell had a poor 2019 on the worst defense in MLS history, he played a major role in Portland’s 2018 MLS Cup run, and Miami will hope to see that form of Powell. Like Sweat, he will be a starting fullback. With its third pick Miami selected Lee Nguyen from Supporters Shield winning LAFC with which he appeared in 23 games last season. Nguyen prefers the possession oriented soccer that appears to be the direction Miami are heading and he could start in offensive midfield positions. With its penultimate draft, the Florida team added 23 year old midfielder Luis Argudo from the Columbus Crew. Argudo made 21 showings last season, with 1 goal and 3 assists. He will likely become a depth player but his bilingual skills could bridge the South American portion of Miami’s roster with its English speaking counterparts. Finally, Inter Miami drafted goalkeeper Bryan Meredith from the Seattle Sounders. Meredith never made the starting eleven in 2019, and was the backup to Stefan Frei, a job he will likely continue to hold in Miami.

On the other hand, Nashville SC took 24 year old Abu Danladi from Minnesota United with its first draft. Despite being selected number one in the 2017 Superdraft, the Ghanaian regressed in Minnesota, ending with a 2019 consisting of only 2 goals and 2 assists in 4 starts and 20 entries from the bench. Danladi could still be a starter if he regains his form from his first year in the Twin Cities.The following draft was Zarek Valentin, a defender from the Portland Timbers. However, Valentin was immediately traded to Houston in exchange for $75k of TAM and goalkeeper Joe Willis, who will be in competition with Adrian Zendejas for the starting job. Thirdly, Nashville selected Jalil Anibaba from the New England Revolution. Anibaba is a veteran defender who made 22 appearances in 2019 and will provide both quality and valuable experience. Next, Nashville took forward Brandon Vazquez from Atlanta United. Like Valentin, Vazquez was traded, this time going to FC Cincinnati in exchange for $150K of TAM and 50K of GAM. With the last pick of the Expansion Draft, Nashville chose defender Jimmy Medranda from Sporting Kansas City. Although the Colombian was only able to make 22 showings in the past two years due to injury, he has the talent to be one of the better fullbacks in the league. Medranda will likely be a starting left back next season for Nashville.

Both sides drafted MLS experience in defensive positions, as 6 of the 10 players operated on the backline, including goalkeeper. To emphasize that point, leading up to the draft Inter Miami GM Paul McDonough even stated that Miami would be spending money on the attack, rather than defense.

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