The Union will begin an offseason needing to add players, but instead potentially losing some in the Expansion Draft. With NYCFC and Orlando City joining the fold next season, the Union will look to keep valuable assets. As was examined in the Union's Expansion History article, they are quite hit and miss when it comes to this draft.
Who should they protect? Before I tell you my opinions, let's look at what the other writer's here had to say.
William Murphy - Andrew Wenger, Ethan White, Amobi Okugo, Sebastien Le Toux, Ray Gaddis, Sheanon Williams, Vincent Nogueira, Cristian Maidana.
That's all, the rest can go.
Eryin Wandel - Gaddis, Le Toux, Williams, Okugo, White, Brian Brown, Nogueira, Maidana, Carlos Valdes, Wenger.
Nicholas Youngstein - Gaddis, Le Toux, Maidana, Nogueira, Zac MacMath, Okugo, Maurice Edu, Valdes, Wenger, White, and Williams.
Matt Ralph - Nogueira, Okugo, Le Toux, Valdes, Gaddis, Maidana, Wenger, White, MacMath, Brown and Williams.
Heather Reppert - MacMath, Gaddis, White, Valdes, Williams, Maidana, Okugo, Edu, Le Toux,
Jason Kates - Le Toux, Okugo, Maidana, Wenger, Gaddis, MacMath, White, Nogueira, Williams, Brown, Valdes.
Andrew Stoltzfus - Le Toux, Okugo, Maidana, Nogueira, Gaddis, Rais M'Bohli, Williams, Valdes, White, Edu, Pedro Ribeiro.
Staci Altomari - Brown, Gaddis, Le Toux, Maidana, MacMath, Nogueira, Okugo, Valdes, Wenger, White, Williams.
Justin Feinberg - MacMath, Williams, Gaddis, Edu, Valdes, Okugo, Nogueira, Maidana, Wenger, Le Toux, Conor Casey.
John Rossi - Nogueira, Okugo, Gaddis, Maidana, Le Toux, Wenger, Valdes, White, Ribeiro, Williams, MacMath.
Jared Young - Nogueira, Edu, Okugo, Wenger, Maidana, Le Toux, M'Bolhi, Gaddis, Valdes, White, Ribeiro.
DOOP Cast - M'Bolhi, Gaddis, White, Valdés, Williams, Edu, Okugo, LeToux, Noguiera, Maidana, Casey.
Barry Evans - M'bolhi, Gaddis, White, Edu, Valdes, Williams, Okugo, Le Toux, Wenger, Maidana, Noguiera.
JC Escobar - MacMath, Williams, Valdes, Gaddis, White, Okugo, Le Toux, Maidana, Nogueira, Wenger, Brown
There is a lot of steady picks among the group here with the obvious protections going out to Le Toux (All Writers), Maidana (All), Nogueira (All), Gaddis (All), and Okugo (All). The real shock to me was how often Ethan White appeared. Although he does appear on my list, at the beginning of the season he would have been nowhere near the protected players list. It is truly a testament to how much he's proved himself when given the chance.
As for the controversies, The battle between Rais M'Bohli (4 protections) and Zac MacMath (7) wages on even off the pitch. As is the decision of some to protect our young strikers in Brian Brown and Pedro Ribeiro over Conor Casey.
Let's take a look at my list and I'll explain my decisions:
Sebastien Le Toux - Really a no brainer. Le Toux will always be the heart and soul of this team as long as he is here. Not to mention the leading goal scorer while he's at it.
Vincent Nogueira - Noggy is the most talented player to ever play in a Union jersey. He may pine to return to France or Europe this offseason, but to leave him off the list would be idiocy at its finest
Cristian Maidana - Despite being down with an injury for a chunk of the season, Maidana still managed to lead the team in assists. When allowed to do as he wished, he was deadly. Not to mention played his heart out for this team and I'll always admire him for that.
Maurice Edu - Captain Edu may or may not be exempt from this list due to his status as a loaned in player, but that has not been addressed. For safe keeping I'd protect Edu who solidified this backline despite wanted a more forward role. He also scored goals when he wanted to.
Amobi Okugo - Although on an expiring contract, Amobi should be protected. The last Union original and a damn fine player in the midfield or at centerback. I beg Amobi to stay on this team. He will be dearly missed should he decided to head for greener pastures.
Ray Gaddis - What can I really say about Ray Gaddis? The man does it all. 2014 Team MVP by a country mile and saved this team on numerous occasions. Getting better at going forward and improving at left back every single game.
Sheanon Williams - A Union landmark at right back, his runs up the field are always a threat and his work ethic defensively is tremendous. Williams is one of 3 players currently to have played on the 2010 Union side and he should remain here for as long as we can keep him.
Zac MacMath - Zac receives his fair share of criticism. Where some is warranted, some certainly is not and to let him walk in this draft (Although with Orlando's trade to acquire Tally Hall it might not be such a foregone conclusion) would be a travesty. Protect him over M'Bohli. Why? Because I don't think anyone in MLS would touch M'Bohli after his Chicago fiasco and if they do want to take him then not only is the goalkeeper that helped give away the postseason gone, but so is his humongous contract.
Andrew Wenger - After finding his niche out wide left Andrew Wenger turned into quite the weapon for interim manager Jim Curtin. He's still relatively young and found the back of the net a few times along with dishing out assists.
Carlos Valdes - When you fight so publicly hard to reacquire a player and then you don't protect him in this draft there is something wrong with you. An offseason of rest and Valdes should be back to his fine form that got him into the Colombian National Team squad.
Ethan White - This pick is one based on performance solely. After rotting away in the doghouse of John Hackworth, Ethan emerged from the shadows and proved why he was considered to have good potential. Although a few mistakes here and there, White played very well and deserves to continue to play for this team.
Let us know who you'd protect in the comments below!