MLS Expansion draft

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LAFC selects Urena, 4 others in MLS Expansion Draft

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Los Angeles FC selected five players in the MLS Expansion Draft, including Costa Rican national team star Marco Urena.

Whether they’ll make their way to the City of Angels is another story.

The first pick from general manager John Thorrington was goalkeeper Tyler Miller from Seattle Sounders.

[ MORE: Benitez on NUFC struggles ]

Going next was Latif Blessing from Sporting KC, an electric attacker who netted thrice with an assist last season.

Next was Urena from San Jose and the Costa Rican national team, a huge addition, and then Columbus left back Jukka Raitala before closing up the draft with Raheem Edwards from Toronto FC.

LAFC has already announced the signings or acquisitions of Carlos Vela, Walker Zimmerman, Carlos Alvarez, Monday Etim, and Guillermo Vizcarra.

The club will also loan Omar Gaber from Basel and Rodrigo Pacheco from Lanus.

Three MLS Expansion Draft selections moved to new teams

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At least 30 percent of Major League Soccer’s 2016 Expansion Draft class won’t play in Atlanta or Minnesota.

Ten picks were made in Tuesday’s draft, as Atlanta United and Minnesota United selected unprotected players off of MLS rosters.

[ MORE: Expansion Draft recap ]

— Montreal left back Donny Toia was picked first by Atlanta, and then shipped to Orlando City for the No. 8 pick in this year’s SuperDraft.

— Toronto goalkeeper Clint Irwin was also claimed by the Georgian side, then traded back to TFC for Georgia native Mark Bloom and General Allocation Money (GAM).

— Minnesota picked Red Bulls right back Chris Duvall, then sent him and some GAM packing to Montreal in exchange for Johan Venegas.

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Expansion Draft: Irwin goes to Atlanta, but trades coming

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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).

[ MORE: BVB to Liverpool – Hands off Pulisic ]

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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Which players should Minnesota, Atlanta target in Expansion Draft?

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Tuesday afternoon may not fully determine the future of either squad, but the Expansion Draft can certainly help both Atlanta United and Minnesota United as they enter their first MLS season.

[ MORE: Arena hopeful Dempsey will be ready when WCQ resumes ]

On Monday, all 20 current MLS clubs released their lists of protected players (11 players that cannot be selected in the Expansion Draft) so at PST we want to take a look at which options make the most sense for Atlanta and Minnesota.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

In order to assess which players are likely fits for MLS’ two newest additions, we have to first take a quick glance at the players that both Minnesota and Atlanta currently possess. While Atlanta has been extremely active in its lead up to entering the league in 2017, Minnesota currently has three players signed, two of which were on the team’s NASL squad last year.

Gerardo Martino and Atlanta have gone after several high-profile talents thus far, including Designated Players Kenwyne Jones and Miguel Almiron, as well as MLS veteran Michael Parkhurst.

With a plethora big names available in Tuesday’s Expansion Draft, let’s take a look at who Atlanta and Minnesota should target.

Jermaine Jones

While age, cost and injuries certainly play a factor for the 35-year-old midfielder, Jones’ veteran presence would surely lift either side in the event that he is selected on Tuesday. Not only was Jones a key figure in the Colorado Rapids midfield in 2016, but he continues to be involved in the U.S. Men’s National Team setup, proving that he can still play in his mid-30s.

Cristian Maidana

The three-year MLS attacker had a bit of a quiet year in 2016 with the Houston Dynamo, but the Argentine possesses plenty of creativity and skill to make Atlanta or Minnesota an immediate contender. Just two seasons ago, Maidana led MLS in assists (15) and at 29 years old he likely has a lot left in the tank.

Steven Beitashour

While Beitashour and Toronto FC just fell short in the MLS Cup final, either expansion side would be getting a top-end defender to bolster their backline. A seven-year veteran, Beitashour has established himself as one of the league’s best outside backs and can provide a major boost in both the attacking and defensive thirds.

Tranquillo Barnetta

Barnetta hasn’t been earth-shattering since joining MLS, but he has provided the Philadelphia Union in their attack. His ability to handle set piece situations makes him a top commodity, while the 31-year-old’s European experience also gives him strong leadership qualities in the locker room. Despite traditionally playing on the wing before coming to the United States, Barnetta has become a solid central midfielder and can play facilitator in the attack.

Clint Irwin

While reports have surfaced linking Brad Guzan to Atlanta, Minnesota could be a very good destination for the veteran goalkeeper, who nearly helped his TFC side win its first MLS Cup. At 27, Irwin should be on the eyes of Adrian Heath’s side after a strong campaign for the Eastern Conference side.

Shipp, Beasley among names eligible for Tuesday’s MLS Expansion Draft

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Protected lists have been released for Major League Soccer’s Expansion Draft, scheduled for Tuesday to help aid in roster construction for Atlanta United and Minnesota United.

Like the SuperDraft, a team can reap plenty from the Expansion Draft. Unfortunately, it can also be more of an avenue to acquire assets than select on-field components.

Only 10 players will be selected in this season’s draft, and no team can lose more than a single player. At most, Atlanta and Minnesota will add five names to their lists.

[ MORE: Premier League Playback ]

While there are names “available” that have retired or stated their intentions to move on — Steven Gerrard, Didier Drogba, and Brad Davis among them — there’s plenty to like from the list.

Sebastian Le Toux, Harry Shipp, Jose Goncalves, Femi Hollinger-Janzen, Frank Lampard, Maurice Edu, Charlies Davies, Clarence Goodson, Alvaro Fernandez, Chance Myers, Steven Beitashour, Clint Irwin, and Giles Barnes among the productive names available.

Some, like DaMarcus Beasley and Will Johnson, are eligible for free agency at 4 p.m. EDT. The expansion draft is at 1 p.m.

Notable names left unprotected

Chicago: Arkshakyan, Cocis, Gehrig, Harrington, LaBrocca, McLain, Morrell, Stephens, Ramos, Thiam

Colorado: Burch, Burling, Berner, Castillo, C. Doyle, J. Jones, Le Toux, Pappa, Ramirez, St. Ledger, Watts, M. Williams

Columbus: Ashe, Clark, Duka, Francis, Hollingsworth, Mabwati, C. Martinez, Pacifici, Saied, Saravia, Sauro, Stuver, Wahl

DC: Boswell, Dykstra, Franklin, Horton, Jeffrey, A. Kamara, Korb, Mishu, Opare, Rolfe, Saborio, Worra

Dallas: Dos Santos, Bonner, David, Harris, Herman, M. Hernandez, Lizarazo, Loyd, Ortiz, Paparatto, Pitter, Rosales, Ruiz, Seitz

Houston: Arboleda Quinones, Beasley, C. Brown, K. Brown, Garcia Iniquez, Garcia, Horst, Lovejoy, Maidana, Mansally, Rodriguez, Steinberger, Warner, S. Williams

LA: Aguilar, Da Silva, Donovan, Garcia, Gerrard, Gordon, Husidic, Keane, Kennedy, Larentowicz, Lassiter, Magee, Romney

Montreal: Bekker, Bernier, Dia, Drogba, Fisher, Kronberg, Mallace, Oduro, Ontivero, Salazard, Shipp, Toia

New England: D. Barnes, Goncalves, Hollinger-Janzen, Knighton, Kobayaski, McCrary, Neumann, Shuttleworth, Smith, Turner, Watson, Woodberry

NYC: Brandt, Bravo, Gomez, J. Hernandez, Johansen, Lampard, D. Martinez, Mena, Mendoza, Rawls, Saunders, Taylor, White

RBNY: Abang, Baah, Bilyeu, Damari, Duvall, Long, Ouimette, Perrinelle, Reynish, S. Wright-Phillips, Zizzo, Zubar

Orlando City: Alston, Ambrose, Baptista, Barry, Boden, Carrasco, Edwards, Garcia, Hines, Mateos, Ribeiro, Rocha, Rochez

Philadelphia: Barnetta, Carroll, Conceicao, Davies, Edu, Fernandes, Gaddis, Jones, McCarthy, Missimo, Restrepo, Tribbett, Washington

Portland: Asprilla, Barmby, N. Besler, Borchers, Brett, Hamilton, Igboananike, Klute, Konopka, McInerney, Okugo, Peay, Polk, J. Taylor, S. Taylor, Thoma, Valentin, Zemanski

RSL: Attinella, Baez, Garcia, Morales, Okwounu, Olave, Sandoval, Stertzer, Welshman, Wingert

San Jose: Amarikwa, Barrera, Barrett, Colvey, Emeghara, Francis, Goitom, Goodson, Lenhart, Meredith, Pelosi, Quintero, Sherrod, Silva, Stewart, Wynne

Seattle: Farfan, Anderson, A. Fernandez, Fisher, Friberg, Gomez, Ivanschitz, Lowe, Lyon, Mears, Ockford, Remick, Sturgis, Valdez

Sporting KC: E. Alvarado, Appiah, Coelho, Davis, Hallisey, Joya, Kann, Mapp, Myers, Nagamura, Olum, Peterson, Porter, Sinovic

Toronto: Babouli, Beitashour, Bloom, Cheyrou, Irwin, Johnson, Lovitz, Ricketts, Roberts, Simonin, Williams

Vancouver: Aird, G. Barnes, De Jong, Edgar, Flores, Kudo, Levis, Morales, Perez, Seiler, Smith, Techera, Tornaghi

In 2014, Orlando City and NYCFC had plenty of hits and misses. NYC’s picks of Tommy McNamara was a home run, while Ned Grabavoy was certainly serviceable. Orlando’s draft was largely forgettable.

Montreal’s 2011 selections bore some fruit in Justin Mapp, Jeb Brovsky, Collen Warner, and Sanna Nyassi all appearing for the Impact. Seth Sinovic was selected from KC and traded back for Davy Arnaud, while Brian Ching was traded back to Houston for a first-round pick.

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