The Philadelphia Union announced their list of players that were protected and left unprotected ahead of tomorrow’s expansion draft. MLS newcomers FC Cincinnati can take five unprotected players, but no more than one from a single team, from any MLS roster.
The Union are heading into one of their most important off-seasons in club history. Before they can get to he open transfer window in January, they have to navigate through other MLS’ off-season events. First came the half-day trade deadline, where the Union traded midfielder’s Fabian Herbers’ rights to the Chicago Fire for a second round draft pick. Now the Union are poised for FC Cincinnati’s MLS expansion draft. After the expansion draft comes MLS free agency, and the various waiver drafts and re-entry drafts. Then the calendar turns to 2019 and the transfer window opens.
Today, the Union released their list of players they have protected and the players who Cincinnati could grab for 50K in allocation money. Let’s unpack who was protected and who wasn’t, and how that could shape the rest of the Union’s off-season plans.
The @PhilaUnion announce its List of Protected players for the MLS Expansion Draft#DOOP #MLS pic.twitter.com/RreIlE4i3c
— David Malandra Jr (@David_Malandra) December 10, 2018
The Union announced that David Accam, Alejandro Bedoya, Andre Blake, Cory Burke, Jack Elliot, Raymon Gaddis, Ilsinho, Oliver Mbaizo, Fafa Picault, Keegan Rosenberry and CJ Sapong are their protected players ahead of FC Cincinnati’s expansion draft.
The players that bookend this list are the most curious on this list, as both Accam and Sapong were linked to FC Cincinnati last week. We’ll get more into that later, but let’s look at the other players on this list. It’s obvious that Bedoya should be protected as he’s the captain of the side. Cory Burke and Fafa Picault are protected as two promising attackers. Ilsinho is protected as he is a Union super sub. Jack Elliot, Keegan Rosenberry, Oliver Mbaizo and Ray Gaddis are all protected as well; the first three being talented young defenders, Gaddis, who is out of contract seems likely to return to Philly as a versatile outside back back-up which is why they protected him.
When it comes to the homegrown’s, all are protected from any expansion draft. That means, Brenden Aaronson, Anthony Fontana, Derrick Jones, Mark McKenzie, Matt Real and Auston Trusty are all saved from being pouched in this draft.
The Union protected 17 players, but 11 players have been dangled out there should Cincinnati want to bite.
Players FC Cincinnati could draft
Creavalle, Dockal, Epps, Fabinho, Marquez, McCarthy, McGuire, Medunjanin, Przybylko, Simpson and Yaro left exposed by the Union for the expansion draft. #DOOP
— Joe Tansey (@JTansey90) December 10, 2018
The 11 players the Union left open for the expansion draft are Borek Dockal, Fabinho, Haris Medunjanin, Jake McGuire, Jay Simpson John McCarthy, Josh Yaro, Kacper Przybylko, Marcus Epps, Richie Marquez, Warren Creavalle.
Some of the 11 players the Union left unprotected were important pieces to the Union in the past. Haris Medunjanin and Borek Dockal being on this list may surprise some, but Dockal’s loan has expired (Cincinnati could draft his MLS rights) and Medunjanin is apparently not in Ernst Tanner’s long-term plans. The rest of the players are either out of contract, or in talks to renew a contract with Philadelphia, so losing them would mean the Union could profit from their out of contract players.
Could FC Cincy take a Union player with one of their five picks tomorrow?
While Medunjanin and Dockal’s MLS rights are available in this draft, Cincinnati may not want to take a chance with these older players. There are also a boatload of talented players unprotected across MLS this season, so it would not make much sense for Cincy to take one of these players. Who knows though, maybe Cincinnati want’s another player that played in Philadelphia to add to their squad?
An interesting turn of events
Last week, two separate reports from GhanaSoccerNet.com said that David Accam and CJ Sapong were on their way to FC Cincinnati. So of course both of them were protected by the Union. This debunks the theory that these players would be moving to Cincinnati, but they could still be on the move as they, like Medunjanin, are not in Ernst Tanner long-term plans.
Only time will tell if a Union player will be moved tomorrow, but with the off-season is most definitely in full swing!
Be sure to come back to Philly Sports Network for more Philadelphia Union, Steel FC, and other soccer content!
Follow our writers on Twitter:
Peace out Union fans!
Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports