Expansion Draft: Irwin goes to Atlanta, but trades coming

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP

Big names, for the most part, were spared as Atlanta United and Minnesota United were also unified in looking for value during the MLS Expansion Draft on Tuesday.

Now the question is how many will stay put after Atlanta United president Darren Eales admitted “pre-arranged trades” that will be announced later Tuesday. Eales could’ve selected players to move them, but also to protect other players on a team’s roster (MLS rules stipulate no team can lose two players in one expansion draft).

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Atlanta claimed Toronto FC goalkeeper Clint Irwin and sent him back to Toronto in exchange for defender Mark Bloom, a Georgia native. They also picked Donny Toia and dealt him to Orlando for the No. 8 pick in January’s SuperDraft.

Atlanta now has, arguably, a Starting XI after Tuesday. The Georgia-based side had addressed attack already with the signings of Kenwyne Jones, Miguel Almiron and Hector Villabla.

In addition to Toya and Irwin, Atlanta selected defenders Zach Loyd (Dallas) and Mikey Ambrose (Orlando). Additionally, Atlanta tabbed 26-year-old Sporting KC backstop — and Georgia native — Alec Kann.

Minnesota made a move on the defensive end as well, tabbing New York Red Bulls back Chris Duvall with their first pick. They later sent Duvall and General Allocation Money to Montreal for Johan Venegas.

The Loons made a deft move in selecting young New England forward Femi Hollinger-Janzen, who was an advanced stats darling in limited use last season. They also added Collen Warner (Houston), Mohammed Saeid (Columbus), and Jeff Attinella (Real Salt Lake).

Warner bears the distinction of being selected in two Expansion Drafts after being plucked by Montreal in 2011.

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