The MLS offseason is in full swing. There have already been trades between teams, and now teams have to finalize their protected lists for an expansion draft. Charlotte FC is coming into MLS as the league’s 28th team in 2022. They’ll be in the eastern conference and push Nashville SC to the west for the upcoming season. The expansion draft is on Tuesday, could a Union player be one of the five picked to go to Charlotte FC?
The expansion draft allows for the new team coming to MLS to pick five players from the MLS teams 2021 rosters. These could be bona fide starters or role players that are more of a project. Charlotte will be able to pick from 22 teams, as LA Galaxy, Nashville SC, New York Red Bulls, Orlando City SC, and San Jose Earthquakes had players drafted last year when Austin FC came into the league. This leaves the opportunity for Charlotte to take a player who was on the Philadelphia Union’s 2021 roster.
Will a Union player be picked?
Ernst Tanner and Jim Curtin will have to be working on who the Union will protect and who they will leave unprotected. Luckily for the Union, they don’t have to protect any homegrown players, as they are disqualified from being selected in an expansion draft. As many are doing right now, people are putting out their list of who they’d protect; the Doop by the River crew has done this as well. Here’s the list of players we would protect:
- Andre Blake
- Jack Elliot
- Jakob Glesnes
- Kai Wagner
- Oliver Mbaizo
- Leon Flach
- Jose Martinez
- Jesus Bueno
- Alejandro Bedoya
- Daniel Gazdag
- Jamiro Monteiro
- Kacper Przybylko
This list is a solid one with the 11 starters that got the team to their first-ever eastern conference final, and their backup number six who could be the air apparent to Jose Martinez. I think this makes a lot of sense as the Union is probably one DP striker away from truly competing for an MLS Cup. Saving these players would help the Union go again in 2022 to do just that, as well as compete for a US Open Cup, Leagues Cup, and possibly a Supporters Shield.
Charlotte FC get five picks
With this protected list, the Union would still leave some great players unprotected. Sergio Santos, Cory Burke, Ilsinho, Stuart Findlay, and Joe Bendik are all solid MLS players that could still bring a real impact to an MLS team. Charlotte gets five picks from 22 teams, could they take a player like this from the Union?
This is a possibility for sure, however, I’m sure that other MLS teams might have a better caliber player that Charlotte’s eye might be more drawn to. The percentage that the Union would lose one of these players is low, but it is a possibility of something that can happen. We’ll have to wait until 2 pm EST on Monday to know who the Union protects, and Tuesday afternoon to know if Philly will be losing a player.
Protected lists are due by 2 pm EST today
The Union will put out their protected list, like the 21 other MLS sides that will do so, this afternoon. Once we see who’s on the protected list, Charlotte FC will have about 24 hours to make their decisions on who they’ll take. Charlotte can only take one player per team’s list, and the teams that are selected won’t be left empty-handed. Each team that gets a player chosen will receive $50,000 of general allocation money from Charlotte. We’ll see if the Union goes unscathed on Tuesday, or if they’ll have $50,000 more of GAM.
Be sure to come back to Philly Sports Network for more Philadelphia Union and other soccer content!
Follow our Union team on Twitter:
Doop on Union fans!
Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union, Andrew Zwarych