Tomorrow, New York City FC and Orlando City FC will add 10 players to their roster with the expansion draft. Each current MLS team protected players on their roster, making them unavailable in the expansion draft. You can see the list of protected and available players here.
Orlando City will have the first pick and the teams will alternate picks with each team getting 10 selections. If Orlando or NYC pick a player from a team, that team will get to add another player to their protected list. If a team loses two players, the expansion teams will not be able to choose any other player from that team.
Austin Moore is selecting for Orlando City. NYCFC Watch is selecting for NYCFC. Our editor Dustyn Richardson is playing the part of the other 18 teams (so you can blame him for who the teams protected).
1. Orlando – Corey Ashe. Houston protects Mark Sherrod.
An easy answer to a position that isn’t usually easy to fill. If Ashe doesn’t go to Orlando at number 1, they have other plans for the position.
2. NYCFC – Ned Grabavoy. RSL protects Chris Wingert.
This was a no-brainer 1st pick selection for me. He reunites with Jason Kreis and is extremely versatile in the midfield.
3. Orlando – Ben Speas. Columbus protects Eric Gehrig.
Not just one of the best younger talents in the draft but one of the most MLS-ready (to pull a term from the SuperDraft).
4. NYCFC – Patrick Mullins. New England protects Steve Neumann.
I feel that Mullins is a future star in MLS. I can envision David Villa taking young Patrick under his wing and grooming him to become an NYCFC legend and that is why this pick – even so early – made perfect sense.
5. Orlando – Jorge Claros. Sporting KC protects Eric Kronberg.
28 and nearly 50 caps for Honduras? At a 90,000 salary, this is a no-brainer. Let’s not forget about the decent-sized Honduran community in Florida either. (Was not sure who to protect from SKC so protected 1 of the keepers. Would probably protect Jacob Peterson if we did it again.)
6. NYCFC – Dan Gargan. LA protects Todd Dunivant.
Versatility was the reason I took Gargan so early in this mock expansion draft. He can pretty much play anywhere on the back line and was a rock this season playing over 2,500 minutes for the MLS Cup Champions.
7. Orlando – Yannick Djalo. San Jose protects Adam Jahn.
Reports said Orlando were interested in him. Whether he actually ends up playing for Orlando is questionable.
8. NYCFC – Gaston Fernandez. Portland protects Jack Jewsbury.
Believe it or not, I actually regret this pick, but only because of his contract issues. I do not feel that Kreis will take a chance on wasting a pick on a player that may not renew his contract. If the stars do align and this pick happens, NYCFC will get a veteran that can still play and play well.
9. Orlando – Antoine Hoppenot. Philadelphia protects Pedro Ribeiro.
A shifty player who’s shown promise but can be inconsistent. His ceiling is quite high in my opinion if he can conquer his inconsistencies. A change of scenery may help.
10. NYCFC – Jorge Villafana. Portland out.
This is another player like Patrick Mullins that I wanted badly. I love Jeb Brovsky, and his mustache, but I am not sure he is starter quality. Villafana is younger, cheaper, and (in my opinion) a day one starter.
11. Orlando – Bright Dike. Toronto protects Mark Bloom.
Nigerian manager Stephen Keshi stated that Dike would’ve been in the Nigerian World Cup squad if not for his early 2014 Achilles injury. Injury plagued, but a must-pick if available at a certain stage in the draft.
12. NYCFC – Michael Azira. Seattle protects Dylan Remick.
Can you say sleeper pick? Michael Azira is a brute force in the midfield and he can also play right back as he did with the Charleston Battery. As an added bonus, Azira has a green card and would not take up an international spot.
13. Orlando – Benji Joya. Chicago protects Kyle Reynish.
He’s on loan from Santos Laguna, so there are uncertainties like Djalo. However, he’s been heralded as one of the most promising young Americans out despite a sub-par season with Chicago. Pick him, buy him. Do what it takes. He’ll come good very soon.
14. NYCFC – David Horst. Houston is out.
I fully expect either Corey Ashe or David Horst to be selected by NYCFC tomorrow. Since Ashe was selected by OCSC with the first pick, Horst was great value here. He did struggle mightily for Houston at times this year but he is a great pick. Yet another player that played 2,500+ minutes for his club this past season.
15. Orlando – Aaron Maund. RSL is out.
This may come as a surprise to some. However, Aaron Maund proved to me that he could be a STARTER on a MLS team this year when covering for Chris Schuler. RSL’s 1-0 shutout of eventual champions, LA, in March was a great example. If Orlando don’t cop him, Kreis certainly may.
16. NYCFC – Cordell Cato. San Jose out.
Young star, young star and I will say it again, young star….Cordell Cato appeared in 27 games for San Jose this season with 16 of those being starts. Did I mention he is only 22 years old? I see so much potential in this kid, it hurts.
17. Orlando – Kevan George. Columbus is out.
Went to UCF so Orlando will be very familiar to him. There’s no better way to breakout as a professional than in the town that gave you everything.
18. NYCFC – Thomas Piermayr. Colorado protects Grant van de Casteele.
At this point in the draft I felt that my picks were getting a bit defensive-heavy but I could not pass on Piermayr. He is versatile in the fact that he has played both outside backs as well as a central midfield during his career. He is a quality bench player that has plenty of room to grow at the ripe age of 25.
19. Orlando – Jalil Anibaba. Seattle is out.
He can play center back. He can play right back. Not to mention, he had a pretty solid year in Seattle. They’ll have to negotiate a contract for him but it’s unlikely Anibaba leaves the league, so that shouldn’t be too difficult.
20. NYCFC – Zac MacMath. Draft is complete.
Before the draft started, I already had my mind made up on selecting a goalkeeper with the 10th pick. NYCFC has already signed Josh Saunders and is rumored to make public the signing of Carolina Railhawks GK Akira Fitzgerald sometime in the coming weeks. MacMath is 23 and only has one year left on his contract. If he does well, re-sign him; if he does not, let his contract expire.
(image courtesy of mlssoccer.com)